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Leesburg, Florida 15th Annual Bike Festival

Published by Denis Ciaccio

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lt;p>More then 250,000 bikers ascended on the city of Leesburg, Florida for their 15th annual motorcycle festival.</p>

<p><b>Thunder in the streets</b></p>

<p>In 1994 the City of Leesburg partnered with the Downtown Merchants Association and the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce to begin a revitalization plan to promote community and economic reconstruction. Through the solicitation of people’s ideas and physical re-development the city began a course of action to bring new events and major projects to downtown Leesburg. One of those events has been the annual Leesburg bike fest that began 15 years ago.</p>

<p>At first it brought in about 5,000 bikers, mostly curious to see what the town was offering in way of this new bike fest. Many who attended the first year were locals who found the time and the weather to be an ideal time for such an event. Since then the festival has grown each year and now in 2018 the 15th annual Leesburg bike fest has grown to over 250,000 attendees. Hotels from Ocala to Clermont and Apopka to Wildwood are booked solid with bikers arriving from all over the state as well as many outside states. Many of the festival-goers appreciate the small town flair with the hundreds of biker events it has to offer as well as the many miles of scenic roads to ride. Some say it is a less chaotic event then the annual Daytona bike fest which is scattered over the populated vacation city from one end to the other.</p>

<p>Here in Leesburg, the festival is mostly limited to the town square and Main Street area. Another positive note is that the local businesses and local police department welcome the event with a positive attitude. Sgt. Woodward, who has been in charge of the security for the event for the past eleven years, agrees that it is the positive attitude toward the bikers that has attributed to the bike fest’s success. He does admit it is a grueling time for the security and at the end of the three days he is ready for some well-deserved rest.</p>

<p>This year’s event highlighted eight stages with 50 different bands and headliners playing almost non-stop throughout the three days. This year the band Slaughter, a heavy metal band, headlined on Friday with Jackyl headlining on Saturday. Each year the festival also has the worldwide ‘Rat’s Hole Bike Show’ that features several bike classes from sports bike to radical. Major bike builders from all over compete at this very popular show for trophies and other prizes. Some of this year’s contestants seemed to outdo even last year’s entries with more and more extreme custom bikes that are more worthy of works of art than motorcycles.</p>

<p>In addition to the show there were dozens of other entertainment venues to keep festival-goers busy. The American Motordrome ‘Wall of Death’ highlighted the extreme motorcycle daredevils, local police demonstrated professional riding skills and the Military Vets hosted Biker Games. And of course there was the Tattoo Contest and the Miss Bike fest contest as well as the Miss Ratmate contest. They haven’t forgotten the ladies either, with a Mr. Lucky Man Hot Body contest!</p>

<p>Despite the theme of the event catering to the biker crowd the city promotes it as a family event and assures that there is no entertainment or venue of an obscene nature. Most of the businesses are open and caters to the appeal of the bikers. Then of course there are the hundreds of biker-related vendors that set up throughout the city, selling everything from tee shirts and bike parts to jewelry and food products. Anything bike related can be found at this annual event. This year the event even hosted a bike run called ‘Ride to the Hills, Howey in the Hills’ which ended up at an establishment offering a quiet party and relaxation for participants. Even if you were unable to attend the festival this year, you could check out the festivities by visiting Clickorlando.com.</p>

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