PIQUA —The kick-off of the popular Piqua Bikefest is approaching quickly. Beginning Friday morning, Bikefest will be there to satisfy those with an appreciation for rock music, motorcycles, and an overall wild and fun weekend. The event is already expected to be a big one.
“Hotels are sold out,” Greg Foughty, chairman of the Bikefest and general manager of Piqua Harley-Davidson, said on Wednesday afternoon.
Setup for the event is also coming along smoothly.
“We’re on track,” Foughty said. “We’re doing final preparations, getting ready for the weekend.”
Pocket guides are now available at Piqua Harley-Davidson, which features the schedule and locations for all of the events over the weekend. Posters and T-shirts will also be available over the weekend.
Last year’s successful inaugural event brought more than 7,500 people to the downtown area, including many families and friends who gathered to hear the music and check out the motorcycles coming from great distances. The event included a re-creation of a photo taken in downtown Piqua 100 years ago, when Hemm Brothers Harley-Davidson hosted a two-day picnic with food, games, and rides around the local countryside.
This year’s event is expected to be as full of energy and entertainment as that photo was a century ago. It is expected to offer something for everyone, not just motorcycle riders, but people of all ages.
Kick-off for the event will be Friday morning, Sept. 18, and the festivities will continue through Saturday night, Sept. 19.
“We’ve got really good headliners,” Foughty said. According to Foughty, the Bikefest will be stepping up its game this year when it comes to the entertainment.
“We’ve got a variety of music this year,” Foughty said, including local and tribute bands as well.
Downtown will feature live music with two full stages of entertainment. Friday night will showcase Red, a Sammy Hagar tribute band. Saturday night, the Piqua Bikefest will be welcoming back Jasmine Cain, followed by headliner Saving Abel. The entertainment line-up for BikeFest weekend also includes local favorites such as Higgins-Madewell, Able Danger, Hidden Assets, Ithica and others.
The primary venue for this event will be historic downtown Piqua, to include the intersecting blocks of Main and High streets, Market Street and Canal Place. Piqua Harley-Davidson, located on U.S. Route 36 just east of I-75, will also have a variety of entertainment and other activities. Both locations will have a beer garden.
“Come out and see all the vendors,” Foughty said. “We’ve got a good mix of vendors this year.”
“Anybody can come down and look around and enjoy what’s there,” Lawrence said.
Attendees can expect to see lots of motorcycles on display from bike builders and dealers as well as more biker gear and accessories. There will also be a great selection of food vendors, plus artisans, and more. There will also be a kids zone in downtown in the parking lot next to Unity National Bank on Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
“They’re going to face painting,” Dan Lawrence, board member of the Bikefest, said on Wednesday afternoon. “They will be doing arts and crafts. They’re going to have a little music station.”
There will be put-put golf for the kids, too. They will also be giving away 300 McDonald’s coupons at the kids zone.
Piqua Harley-Davidson will also be celebrating their grand opening during Bikefest weekend this year. The Gover family recently sold the dealership, previously known as Gover Harley-Davidson, to Jim and Lynn Loomis, owners of Napoleon Harley-Davidson of Napoleon.
Their grand opening will have local bands on site throughout the event, motorcycle stunt shows by Sinister Stunts, a Pin-Up girl contest on Saturday, food vendors and other attractions. There will also be a tattoo contest on Friday at the dealership from 5-7:30 p.m.
A bike show that will showcase both custom and vintage bikes is planned for Saturday and will take place in front of the Fort Piqua Plaza.
The positive economic impact that Bikefest brings to Piqua can be felt in the community’s continued enthusiasm. After a successful first year, many people and businesses in the community have expressed support for this event to happen annually.
“We had a great event last year,” Lawrence said. “We are donating money to different organizations… out of our proceeds.”
“We’re going to do a charity ride,” Foughty said. The ride will be sponsored by WTUE, radio station 104.7. Registration starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the mall, and kick stands up at 10 a.m. The ride will led by the radio host the “B” man. The proceeds will go to the Dayton Veteran’s Administation Hospital.
Everyone is encouraged to be safe and be careful. Foughty also encouraged the public to watch out for motorcyclists.
“They’re going to be everywhere,” Foughty said.
Thanks are due to the organizations who have already sponsored Piqua Bikefest, including Piqua Harley-Davidson, Comfort Inn and the Miami Valley Centre Mall, Mulligan’s Pub, Z’s Food & Spirits, Yuengling, Rider Insurance, Lighthouse Café, Extreme Tattoo, Crazy Martins, Sunset Dental, HER Realtors and Koverman, Staley, Dickerson Insurance. Additional support has also been provided by The Miami County Visitor and Convention Bureau, Fifth Third Bank, and McCulloch Felger Fite and Gutmann.
Thunder Roads Ohio and Iron Cowboy Productions, LLC are the official promotional partners of Piqua Bikefest Inc. Piqua Harley-Davidson is located at 1501 E. Ash St. in Piqua and can be contacted at (937) 773-8733.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall