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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Thousands flood downtown area for Leesburg Bikefest

After three years of COVID-19 chaos, the Leesburg Bikefest is back at full strength and in its regular spot on the Central Florida event calendar.

BikeFest 2023 2Leesburg Bikefest 2023 continues today and runs through Sunday afternoon in downtown Leesburg and several other local businesses. An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people are expected to attend over three days.

BikeFest 2023 8“We’re happy to be back to normal and we’re expecting great attendance if the weather holds up,” said Joanie Smalley, Executive Director of the Leesburg Partnership, which organized the event. “The last few years were challenging for everyone, including us. It’s great to be back to three days in April and to have so many volunteers, vendors and local businesses participating.”

The pandemic struck a month before the 2020 rally was scheduled, resulting in the cancellation of that event and the postponement of the 2021 Bikefest from April to November. A single-day event was held last April, clearing the way for a return to normalcy this year.

BikeFest2023 11More than 100 vendors are on hand, selling food, beer, mixed drinks, cannabis products, t-shirts and other apparel, motorcycle parts and accessories, and other bike-themed items and services.

BikeFest 2023 5Smalley said every downtown business is contributing in one way or another, and all are expected to reap the financial benefits.

“We haven’t gotten a true measurement of the economic impact in about 10 years, but it will be in the millions,” she said. “And not just for the businesses downtown. Hotels are full and restaurants are packed everywhere. This event benefits everyone in the community.”

BikeFest 2023 3Planning for this year’s event started right after last year’s ended, and it takes a lot of people, business, and agencies to put on an event this size.

“It’s not just one person or one group of people responsible,” Smalley said. “We’ve been working closely for months with all the businesses, the city, the county, the first responders, and our volunteers to make this year’s Bikefest the best one yet.”

Saturday Schedule

Biker events

  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Full Throttle Bike Show (Lifestream lot)
  • 1 to 2 p.m. – Drill Team Demonstration (Great Chicago Fire, 311 W. Magnolia)
  • 4 to 5 p.m. – Biker Games (USB parking lot, 515 W. Main)
  • 4 to 5 p.m. – Drill Team Demonstration (Great Chicago Fire, 311 W. Magnolia)

Entertainment

  • Noon to 4 p.m. – Justin Heat (Main Stage, 501 Meadow St.)
  • 1 to 3 p.m. – Ancient Sun (McCracken’s Irish Pub, 719 W. Main St.)
  • 3 to 5:30 p.m. – Beautiful Bobby Blackmon (The Swamp, 168 N. 1st St.)
  • 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Hard Drive (Canal Street Stage, 115 E. Main)
  • 4 to 8 p.m. – Torn (Gator Harley, 1745 U.S. Hwy. 441)
  • 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Casteen Road (Main Stage, 501 Meadow St.)
  • 5 to 8 p.m. – The Longest Hall (McCracken’s Irish Pub, 719 W. Main St.)
  • 5 to 8 p.m. – Jack Knife (Ski Beach Bar & Grill, 21 Dozier St.)
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m. – Usual Suspects (The Swamp, 168 N. 1st St.)
  • 7 to 11 a.m. – Big Engine (Windy Acres, 1236 Miller Ave., Fruitland Park)
  • 8 to 9:30 p.m. – Nova Rex (Main Stage, 501 Meadow St.)
  • 8 to 10 p.m. – Bobby Friss (The Swamp, 168 N. 1st St.)
  • 8 p.m. to midnight – Kenny Lives (Canal Street Stage 115 E. Main St.)
  • 10 to 11:30 a.m. – Warrant (Main Stage, 501 W. Meadow St.)

 

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