BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Biketoberfest is all about the bikers coming to town, having fun and spending money giving the area an economic boost.
Last weekend’s event reported large crowds in parts of Daytona Beach and Volusia, including Main Street in Daytona. Crowds were modest along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (MMB), historically Second Avenue.
Heavy rains and thunderstorms late Friday and early Saturday from Tropical Storm Nestor was the reason.
Some bikers expressed displeasure and it wasn’t all about the weather.
A biker who identified himself as “Blue’’ was camping out near Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard with a group of biker friends and family.
“We enjoy coming here. We have money to spend. However, if they keep treating us like this, we will go elsewhere,” Blue said.
“There won’t be bikers in this community in the future if the association that runs things over here don’t change. Lot rents are too high. A lot of places don’t have access to water.
“The costs of many lots you want to rent to put your campers, RVs and tents are just ridiculous. You can’t use the parks. There are too many police, especially White officers,” Blue added.
The Second Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), a non-profit organization that organizes events along Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, says prices vary.
“If they are upset about prices, it’s sad. Prices vary and depend upon who you rent from. Our prices have been the same and we don’t always charge the full price… We can’t control what prices are outside of SAMA control,” said SAMA spokesperson Barbara Turner-Hymes.
“We only control what is on this end of the Boulevard. Not every lot is under SAMA.”
Dodging the rain
Bikers still enjoy the community although they attend events in other parts of town.
“Rag Man’’ is a biker who rides with the club Wheels of Soul out of Jacksonville.
“Biketoberfest is always good just as Bike Week for me. I’ve been coming to Daytona for Biker events since 1982,” he said.
“This weekend we just had to duck and dodge rain a little bit today. A lot of the bikers you see here have clubs here. There are a lot of events going on in town. We try to spread the love around and reach each event for a while.”
Vendors bow out
Event organizers acknowledged the weather’s affect on the weekend.
“It wasn’t as good due to rain keeping people away and making some people leave, but we did get some good crowds on Saturday night,” said Turner-Hymes.
Pat Heard owns Second Avenue Plaza, on the corner of Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard and Green Street.
“Business was down on my end. The few vendors I had left Friday night,” said Heard.
“They knew the weather was coming. I had a lot of other vendors that called and told me they weren’t coming due to the weather. We are looking forward to March.”
Law enforcement says things went well in the area.
“Our presence is for safety and traffic reasons. We actually had less cops from last year. We don’t get into the race thing; we use the officers we have,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.
“Also, the area usually polices itself,” Capri went on. “As for me, I’d rather work MMB Boulevard than Main Street. It’s just a lot of hospitality, friendliness and family like over there.”
Soul food sells
Meanwhile, the few food vendors that stayed after the rain did well.
“Business was pretty good for just two days, especially today,” Southern Soul Food’s Anita May said on Saturday.
“Yesterday was an off and on day but today was pretty good, especially afternoon and after the rain. The people were nice, and we were treated well,” May told the Daytona Times.
Her business is in Deltona.
The Times learned that Gregg’s Barbeque had already packed up and left after selling out Saturday night.
Welcomed the boost
A few local eateries also enjoyed the weekend economic boost.
Robert Mobley owns Famobley Restaurant located inside Second Avenue Plaza.
“Biketoberfest did bring more traffic and a boost to our business. We need more events like this and more business and development in the area to attract people here,” said Mobley.
“After these events and when the Bethune-Cookman students are gone, it’s a ghost town around here.’’
Deejays stayed busy
C-Styles Entertainment handles entertainment for SAMA and had to make some adjustments due to the rain.
“The band had to deal with the storm as well where they were. We also had another act. It was best they not come. We kept the music playing with several deejays rotating in and out,” said Chester McNorton of C-Style Entertainment.
Instead of the band Live 5 from Valdosta, Georgia performing on Saturday, female R&B artist Yoshi from Sanford performed.
Music kept rolling throughout the weekend by many deejays spinning music.