PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The second and final weekend of Bike Week is unofficially known as “Black Bike Week’’ in Daytona Beach. The peak time for bikers to invade the area is slated for Friday and Saturday nights.
Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, formerly Second Avenue, is the hub of biker activity in Daytona Beach’s Black community.
The bikers and vendors along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard were ready for action earlier this week.
The area on the north end from the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the railroad tracks is filled with bikes, food vendors, T-shirt, music and jewelry vendors.
Big crowds expected
By the Daytona Times Wednesday night deadline, a good number of vendors were already in full effect on Mary McLeod Boulevard with more expected by Friday.
Local businesses were looking forward to the weekend.
Bike Week alone is said to pump an estimated $75 million into the local economy. This year marks the 78th anniversary of the official Bike Week. It ends on Sunday, March 17.
“I am expecting big crowds. They seem to be coming in early. We are expecting more on Saturday, said Patricia Heard, owner of the Second Avenue Plaza.
“I keep the vendors in the Plaza down to a minimum to be friendlier to the bikers where they have a place to park. I also have light in the parking lot, which is the only business with lighting.’’
Many are coming in to have a good time while others come to make a decent buck.
Charlie and Chris Helton are father and son Harley-Davidson bike owners who reside in Atlanta. The business owners have been coming to Bike Week for the past 10 years.
“The experience is always great coming here. We have no complaints. We look forward to coming every year,” Chris Helton noted.
The Heltons own Xklusiv Sounds, a custom motorcycle audio business. They install audio systems on bikes, accessories like handlebars, wheels and more.
“That is what we’re mostly doing is working. We’ve been in business since about 2008. We come to Biketoberfest too, but it’s slower than Bike Week,” said Chris Helton.
Daytona Bike Week is the place to be, they say.
He told the Daytona Times, “We go to other biker events but Daytona Beach and the Volusia County area is one of the most welcoming and most inviting areas. Law enforcement, business owners and the locals are very receptive. The way the community embraces the biker event makes it special.”
Biker clubs ready
For motorcyclists, including local bike clubs, it’s a time of coming together.
“We have a few things going on at our clubhouse. We are opening up our clubhouse and fellowshipping with other bikers coming into the city. We also will have a few vendors at the clubhouse,’’ said Victor Engram, president of the Sunchasers Motorcycle Club, a group made up primarily of Black males.
“This is a time of coming together, fellowship, brotherhood, camaraderie, and being family. It’s also a time of good food, good music, and showing off your bikes. You also get to see people who you haven’t seen in a while,” he added.
Pchez of Hot Throttle Divas, echoed, “We pretty much do what the guys do. We ride around, hang out and show up at the events. It’s all about the sisterhood, fellowship and camaraderie with us too.’’ She noted that there’s an all-female ride on Saturday.
Music and dancing
Meanwhile, C/Style Entertainment & Productions is gearing up entertainment for the Second Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), a non-profit organization made up from businesses along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard.
Talent will include delays like Big Franc Radio of Daytona; music presented Special Formula, and line dancing and stepping by the the Sexy Soul Gliders.
“You can expect more entertainment this year. I want to do a Daytona’s Got Talent like thing. Anyone in the area who got talent should come on out and perform,’’ said Chester McNorton, of C/Style Entertainment & Productions.