Leesburg Bikefest reaching out more to locals without motorcycles
Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts cruise up and down Main Street for Leesburg Bikefest as seen in this 2010 file photo. (Tom Benitez, Orlando Sentinel / April 25, 2010)
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LakeXpress, the county's transit service, has extended its reach, with routes to Mount Dora and Tavares and to Eustis added to its existing lines to The Villages and to GatorHarley-Davidsonin Leesburg. Fares are $1 or $3 for the day.
"You can even wave the bus down anywhere on its route," said Joe Shipes, executive vice president of the Leesburg Partnership, which stages the event. "This year, we are stressing that no bikes are required, because Bikefest is more than just a motorcycle event — it's a music festival."
Leading a record number of high-energy music performances will be Saturday's headliner Seven Mary Three, a hard-rock plus acoustic-rock group whose biggest hits — "Cumbersome," "Water's Edge" and "Wait" — topped charts in the 1990s and Friday's headliner FireHouse, a heavy-metal band whose biggest hits — "Don't Treat Me Bad," "Love of a Lifetime" and "When I Look into Your Eyes" — date from the same years.
Each band will perform in Towne Square from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
The competition for Ms. Bikefest will take place in Towne Square at 8 p.m. Saturday. Other Hot Body Contests, bike exhibitions, such as drill teams and the Rat's Hole Bike Show and specialty events, such as the Tattoo Expo, are scheduled during the weekend.
The Jesse Black Saloon on U.S. Highway 441 joins Gator Harley-Davidson across the highway, downtown Leesburg and Mission Inn Resort — Marina Del Ray as venues with food, drink, events, vendors and entertainment.
Gator Harley-Davidson, Jesse Black Saloon and downtown venues Rat's Hole Bar and the Opera House Saloon will kick off Bikefest with entertainment today.
Street events will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Rat's Hole Bar will stay open until 2 a.m. today, Friday and Saturday. Club Palace and Opera House Saloon will be open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Shipes recommended that families attend on Sunday, when many motorcyclists head for home, but stunt shows, such as the Wall of Death, fill the schedule.
For parking information or for more information about the schedule of events and entertainment, see leesburgbikefest.com or call 352-365-0053.
•From Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, buses will pick up passengers every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
•From the Holiday Inn Express in The Villages, 1205 Avenida Central, every 30 minutes from 8 a. m. to 2:30 a. m. Fri. and Sat. and 9 a. m. to 6 p. m.
•From Mount Dora and Tavares, the route will include on-demand stops from Donnelly Street and Fifth Avenue in Mount Dora and along Main Street in Tavares every 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
•From State Road 19 as far north as County Road 452 in Eustis every 30 minutes from 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.