The sound of bikers revving up their engines and the sight of leather-clad men and women can mean only one thing. Leesburg Bikefest has arrived.
Now in its 20th year, I still remember the first time I attended this magnificent event. At that time, I was in my mid-20s and had just started my career in the media as an account executive at the Daily Commercial. My boss said my new position required me to attend social functions and perform volunteer work in the community. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was open to the idea nonetheless.
In 1999, I was asked to volunteer at Bikefest by manning the information tent and passing out itineraries to festivalgoers. It was the first time I heard about this event. Trying to envision what it might entail, I pictured a small street parade of bikers showing off their motorcycles in a small, sleepy downtown area. Boy, was I wrong.
After several hours of working the booth, I was absolutely amazed by the festive atmosphere. Never in my life had I seen downtown Leesburg flooded with so many people, and lining the streets was an astonishing collection of motorcycles. On top of that, there were plenty of food and beer vendors, stellar entertainers, and friendly, down-to-earth bikers. To say I was hooked would be an understatement.
Today, I am a business owner with an office housed in downtown Leesburg. We are right in the middle of all the action. So much so, that we made Bikefest Friday a company holiday. Our employees are encouraged to take the day off, visit the downtown area, or volunteer at one of the local charitable booths, serving refreshments to visitors.
Kudos to the Leesburg Partnership and the city of Leesburg, their wonderful staff, and volunteers who help organize this event. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that it has become the largest three-day motorcycle and music event in the country.
In the spirit of this wonderful event, our editorial staff has put together our very first “Event Guide.” Whether you are a visitor or a resident, you will find many exciting things to do during Bikefest weekend and continuing through the next several months.
Welcome bikers and visitors. We hope this issue will show you why Lake and Sumter counties are the place to be!
Until next month,