About 10,000 ex­pected for Bike­to­ber­fest

The Welland Tribune - - NEWS - LAURA BAR­TON TRI­BUNE STAFF lbar­ton@post­media.com Twit­ter: @LBar­tonTri­bune

Bike­to­ber­fest is one last hur­rah for bik­ers be­fore the sum­mer weather is over and mo­tor­cy­clists have to store their bikes for the win­ter.

At least, that’s how Bruce Bis­sell de­scribes his Fri­day and Satur­day mo­tor­cy­cle event that has been run­ning for the past 15 years.

He said it used to hap­pen in Oc­to­ber, but be­cause of poor weather — some­times snow, some­times rain, some­times just plain old cold tem­per­a­tures — the event got moved to Septem­ber. Be­cause it’s a mo­tor­cy­cle event, which in­cludes the Ride of Flags on Fri­day evening, good weather is ideal.

Dur­ing the Ride of Flags, peo­ple ride their bikes, start­ing at 6:15 p.m. from Clare’s Cy­cle and Sports Ltd. on High­way 20 in Pel­ham to the Wel­land County Mo­tor­cy­cle Club on Netherby Road in Wel­land, where the main event takes place. Dur­ing the ride, peo­ple have flags or ban­ners from their re­spec­tive mo­tor­cy­cle clubs, the Cana­dian Flag or what­ever flag they see fit. The ride serves as a kick­off to the main event all-day Satur­day.

He said Bik­er­to­ber­fest orig­i­nally be­gan as a fundraiser for the Fen­wick Lions Club, but has since grown to a large event that sees as many as 10,000 peo­ple come for live en­ter­tain­ment, mo­tor­cy­cle judg­ing, classic bikes, food and 40 ven­dors.

“It’s grown over the years,” he said, adding it’s the largest mo­tor­cy­cle event in Ni­a­gara. “It’s un­be­liev­able.”

He said there is some­thing for every­one at the event, and en­cour­ages peo­ple to come check it out. Bands that will be play­ing in­clude the Big Dave Trio of Fri­day night and Triple X, the ZZ Top trib­ute band.

The club­house at Wel­land County Mo­tor­cy­cle Club will also be turned into a mu­seum of sorts for the event and he said hav­ing Bike­to­ber­fest at that lo­ca­tion is just a great way to show off the site, too.

Last year, Bis­sell said Bike­to­ber­fest raised $30,000 for Path­stone Men­tal Health, and funds raised this year will once again be go­ing to­wards that ini­tia­tive.

The event it­self is free, with money raised by raf­fling off a mo­tor­cy­cle. A 2017 Har­ley David­son Street Glide Special will be raf­fled, with tick­ets be­ing sold for $20 a piece un­til 6 p.m. Satur­day evening. He said tick­ets can be pur­chased in ad­vance at Clare’s Cy­cle and Sports. He said on Satur­day the Pro­fes­sional Hockey Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion will also be selling tick­ets for their own raf­fle sep­a­rate from Bike­to­ber­fest. Tick­ets for a cus­tom-made Har­ley David­son worth over $70,000, with pro­ceeds go­ing to­wards Hockey Fights Cancer, will be avail­able from the PHPA on site. That raf­fle will be drawn at a later date.

LAURA BAR­TON/WEL­LAND TRI­BUNE

Bruce Bis­sell stands be­side his pickup truck, which has in­for­ma­tion about his mo­tor­cy­cle event Bike­to­ber­fest em­bla­zoned on the back win­dow. The event is an op­por­tu­nity for mo­tor­cy­clists to come to­gether one last time be­fore putting the bikes away for the sea­son and takes place this Fri­day and Satur­day at the Wel­land County Mo­tor­cy­cle Club.

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