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Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Planning Director, Mitchell resigns

Colonial Beach is currently looking for a Planning Director to fill the shoes of Gary Mitchell, who ...

Colonial Beach boil water notice rescinded

Colonial Beach residents were given the ‘all clear’ on July 25, after being notified 3 days earlier ...

Colonial Beach drinking water contamination determination to notify public lies with Health Department

On July 23, at 10:15 a.m., The Journal spoke with Bennett Ragnauth, Engineering Field Director from ...

Colonial Beach - Boil your water

Don't drink the water, until it is boiled

Public Works Director Rob Murphy said that E-Coli bacteri...

Ellie Caruthers is a Colonial Beach Treasure

Ellie Caruthers is a Colonial Beach Treasure

Residents and visitors to Colonial Beach often walk the shores of the Potomac or prowl the town’s an...

Newman returns to the Black and Gold

Newman returns to the Black and Gold

Colonial Beach School Board members are very excited to welcome back former CB Elementary School Pri...

 

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Colonial Beach Council gives unofficial approval for October Bikefest

The Colonial Beach Town Council received an update at last week’s work session on the planning for the first-ever bikefest to be held in town, tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in October of this year. The event’s planning group was seeking to obtain a definitive answer concerning the council’s approval of the event before proceeding with promotional activities.

Read more: Colonial Beach Council gives unofficial approval for October Bikefest

Out of the ashes there is hope for CB Elementary

The Colonial Beach Town Council received an update at last week’s work session on the planning for the first-ever bikefest to be held in town, tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in October of this year. The event’s planning group was seeking to obtain a definitive answer concerning the council’s approval of the event before proceeding with promotional activities.
President of the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce, Carey Geddes, along with Bryan and Vickie Coffman, owners of the town’s High Tides on the Potomac restaurant, are heading up efforts with General Manager Steven “Smurf” Keene and Marketing Director Tammy Saberan of All American Harley-Davidson of Hughesville, Maryland, to create the first, and hopefully annual, Colonial Beach BikeFest.
The group met with the Colonial Beach Town Council in October 2013. At that meeting, Keene presented the council with information on activities that would take place and to dispel rumors surrounding the type of people who would be attending the event.
Keene told the council that a lot of people have misconceptions about bikers. The old stereotypical profile of a biker is far from the truth. Today’s bikers, he said, are on average between the ages of 25 and 54 years of age. He advised that they are men and women of Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, etc. races.  “A lot of women are coming on board with the motorcycle industry,” Keene said, adding, “The average household income is between $75 to $100 thousand, and most of them own their own homes.”
Keene went on to tell the council, “Harley-Davidsons are the ‘Cadillacs’ of motorcycles, so we invest a lot in them. While bikers may be interested in tattoos and chrome, some of us also share interests in art.” He said that he buys not only local art, but also that of artists from places he’s visited.
“So, we do shop at the events we attend,” Keene said, adding that bikers also love the environment. “We love music- blues and jazz, religion and most importantly, we like reaching out to those that are in need. I have yet to find a more charitable crowd than the bikers when there is a community in need.”

What is a bikefest?
The event would include activities geared towards a biker demographic, strategically planned to accommodate their interests, in hopes of creating a tradition for loyal motorcycle enthusiasts to participate in for years to come.
Event activities include: bike shows; “weenie bite” rides, where passengers get on a bike with a driver and try to take a bite out of a dangling hotdog; bike rodeos that show off a rider’s slow-speed skills, such as the “road kill” event, where riders attempt to pick up stuffed animals inside a small area; and other entertaining demonstrations.
Events are all geared around having fun while practicing safety. Of course, there will be food and beverage venders serving sodas, tea and beer. Keene said, “There is always live music, and many events end with a fireworks show.”
There is no admission fee for spectators. The public is free to wander around throughout the venue. Entrance fees are charged for the competitions to fund prizes.
Harley-Davidson will also cover production and design of an event shirt through sponsors. The town would be involved with the event logo designs, and proceeds will benefit local groups such as the CB Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. Keene told the council at the Jan. 23 work session that the group also plans to donate proceeds to the Colonial Beach Elementary School Fire Fund, as well.
At the Jan. 23 work session, the group was primarily there for the council’s final blessing to turn the first Annual Colonial Beach BikeFest into a reality and a huge success. However, the group took considerable time updating the council on event planning, to date.
Keene discussed the group’s progress over the last five months. “We have held several [organizational] meetings at High Tides restaurant.” He said that many local businesses and key planners for the event have worked well together to iron-out plans and ideas.
“Ideas were passed around and pitched, all working towards making this event a huge success for local business owners, because that’s what it’s all about, which in turn, will revitalize Colonial Beach and put you back on the map as a great destination place,” Keene told the council.
Keene reported that he has been doing his research and has spoken to many motorcycle event-goers. He said that many of the folks he’s talked to about an event in Colonial Beach were very excited because it is so close. The reason this information is so important for Colonial Beach is twofold- Not only is Colonial Beach centrally located to several big cities such as Richmond, Fredericksburg, Washington, DC and parts of Maryland, but in recent economic impact studies of similar events, almost half of the event-goers are usually “day-trippers”. Of the other half of event-goers, on average, the party size is 2.7 visitors, and many of them stay an average of two nights at the event’s location.
Social media is already generating a vast amount of interest. Southern Maryland radio station 97.7’s Ripley has been airing free spots concerning the upcoming event, but the group doesn’t want to move forward without some word from council that they will, indeed, support the event.

Keene said he has received a number of calls from bands trying to line up shows for the event, and many vendors have committed to attending. He has also scheduled the Harley-Davidson demo fleet for Colonial Beach, rather than holding it at the dealership. Keene asked Harley-Davidson to schedule it the weekend of the event and to hold the demos at the CB Dragstrip. This event brings in over 350 test drives in a day and a half.

Keene wrapped up his update by saying, “We need approval to move forward with promoting this event. Band managers and vendors have already been calling to be included. We would like to include more local businesses- We were pleasantly surprised by the businesses that showed up to the meetings at High Tides. We want all Colonial Beach businesses to participate in the creation of this event. The crowd that is coming will be interested in more than bikes.”

“Together, we can turn this ‘biker event’ into a true ‘bikefest’ that attendees will look forward to, and plan for annually!”
A welcome reception has been scheduled at the CB Dragstrip for the Friday night of the BikeFest. The reception will be held there to encourage BikeFest attendees (those not interested in attending the ArtWalk) to go out of town during the regular First Friday ArtWalk, to reduce noise to help ensure adequate parking for other ArtWalk attendees.

The town council’s show of hands indicated that all members are in favor of the event. Mayor Mike Ham suggested the town work out contractual agreements on details, and how cleanup, security and other maintenance items will be handled.

—Linda Farneth

January school fire reaffirms need for Town water and sewer upgrades

Colonial Beach Town Manager Val Foulds continues to work diligently on the town’s water and sewer infrastructure. But despite her best efforts, as well as those of town staff and town council, time was not on their side the first week of 2014, when fire struck the old two-story landmark school building at 315 Douglas Ave.

Read more: January school fire reaffirms need for Town water and sewer upgrades

Hazardous chemicals more than HazMat could handle

Adding to the immediate dangers are hazardous chemicals, creating a situation that not even HazMat could solve. Chemicals left in the school’s science lab had been secured while the building was closed and being used as a storage facility. Sunday’s fire gutted the building, leaving it exposed to the elements and unidentified chemicals, including old ether had to be moved to the old gymnasium to ensure they could be locked up and undisturbed until a Reactive Management Team could come and dispose of these chemicals.

Read more: Hazardous chemicals more than HazMat could handle

Officials say campus is now a collapse zone

After the smoke had cleared the Colonial Beach School Board was left with several hazards at the elementary school campus, making the decision, of where to house primary and elementary students for the remainder of the year, even tougher.

Read more: Officials say campus is now a collapse zone

Colonial Beach Elementary School burns in early morning fire

Sunday Jan. 5, 2014

“A piece of Colonial Beach History gone; such a sad day” - Just two of the comments on Facebook from residents of Colonial Beach who woke up, Sunday Jan. 5 to news that the landmark 100-year-old brick building known to many long-time residents as the old high school at the elementary school campus had burned beyond repair by roughly 5 a.m.

Chief David Robey of the Colonial Beach Vol. Fire Department said the fire was toned out around 4 a.m. Robey said they could see the flames from the fire house which is located about a block away.

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When firefighters arrived on scene the school building was fully engulfed in flames. The State Fire Marshal, investigating the fire stated that the bulk of the fire was on the front side of the building which is located on the river side and burned towards the back of the building which sits roughly 50 yards from Douglas Ave.

Read more: Colonial Beach Elementary School burns in early morning fire

Revitalization application process in full swing

With the help of Jerry Davis, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Planning Commission, the efforts to secure the revitalization grant for Colonial Beach are shaping up. Davis is following in the tried and true footsteps the commission used to help Montross, which has already been successful in securing a half million dollar revitalization grant and has started to implement the plan.

Read more: Revitalization application process in full swing

A goodwill gesture turns into a bounty of joy

Bertha Peyton and Amy Molinares didn’t quite know what joy they would receive when they adopted a family for Christmas through Social Services.

Read more: A goodwill gesture turns into a bounty of joy

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