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Bikefest 2020 Postponed

  • Colonial Beach Bike Fest-CANCELED - Official Visit Colonial Beach Virginia  Travel & Tourism

     

    Note from CycleFish Admin - Aug 31, 2020: This is an older article referring to the original dates of the Leesburg BikeFest that was scheduled for April 24-25.  We just spoke with Joe Shipes this morning and he informed us that as of now the event is still scheduled to happen on the rescheduled dates of Nov 13-15, 2020.  We will keep you updated if that changes between now and the event dates.

     

    "It was the only prudent thing to do at this point," said Joe Shipes, the partnership's CEO. It is always the biggest event of the year in Leesburg.

    LEESBURG - Bikefest canceled.

    On Monday, the Leesburg Partnership announced that the festival was closed amid concerns about the coronavirus, citing the CDC's newest directive to cancel events with more than 50 people in the next eight weeks.

    "It was the only prudent thing to do at this point," said Joe Shipes, the partnership's CEO.

    The 24th annual Bikefest was scheduled for 24-26 April in the center of Leesburg. It is the largest three-day motorcycle festival in the world, as well as the largest in the city and one of the largest annual events in the county.

    It attracts tens of thousands of people each year, attracting motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists with nearly 60 shows, dozens of street vendors, hot body contests, bike shows and acrobatics, and more.

    And it is a great economic generator as well. People who come from outside the city stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants, drink at local bars.

    Community service groups also benefit. They operate beer and beverage stands and park cars to raise money for their groups.

    In addition, it is the biggest partnership event of the year. The money earned during Bikefest helps support Main Street Program events, such as the monthly Food Truck-N-Flick Night, bimonthly Night Market and holiday events such as the 4th of July celebration and the Christmas parade.

    Therefore, no Bikefest will strongly affect the local economy.

    "There are a lot of companies, nonprofits and organizations that depend on it," said Shipes. "Obviously, they will be affected by this."

    So why not postpone it?

    On the one hand, Bikefest is not planned for a day.

    "Bikefest is a very technical event with many exciting pieces from all entertainment, from all groups of volunteers," said Shipes.

    And then the question is: If it was reprogrammed, when would it be?

    "We would not reschedule for the summer because of the heat, but then you will enter hurricane season," said Shipes. “It would have pushed us into autumn, which is November. And that is already extremely reserved. "

    "When speaking to our national agencies that deal with the bands, with all these other events canceled, many of the same bands were talking to beer trying to set dates in the fall," he continued. “There are so many things. The safest thing for us to do now was to cancel and wait until 2021. ”

    Next year's event is scheduled for April 23-25.

    The partnership's Facebook post announcing the cancellation quickly caught fire.


    In an hour, the post had more than 2,000 shares and 400 comments.

    The comments covered the entire range and some people supported it.

    "I'm sorry to hear that," wrote one man. "I know you are heartbroken for such an important event with an incredible impact not to happen."

    "I understand why, but it's sad," wrote another woman. "A maker of money so big that it helps fund many other free events in Leesburg."

    “Public health and safety must come first,” wrote another person. "I hate to see that, but I certainly understand."

    But many people accused the partnership of giving in to what they called "mass hysteria", despite the CDC's clear guidelines for practicing social detachment.

    "Less than 200 cases across the state," wrote one person. "The loons took over."

    "You have got to be kidding!!!" another wrote. “You are serious. Terrible, terrible. "

    "So stupid, big overreaction," wrote another person.

    But Mayor Al Minner said his office had received a stream of calls from citizens concerned that the partnership had not canceled Bikefest before Monday.

    On Friday, the organization sent a press release saying it was too early to make the call.

    Then, on Sunday, the CDC updated its guidelines for canceling or postponing events at least two months earlier.

    "This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce the introduction of the virus into new communities and to delay the spread of the infection in communities already affected by the virus," wrote the CDC in its statement.

    "Overall, it is a disappointment to have to cancel, but we fully agree that it is the right decision," said Minner.

    BikeFest is certainly not the only major event that was canceled after the coronavirus outbreak.

    Daytona Bike Week has been canceled. The West Palm Beach SunFest Music Festival has been canceled. Coastal cities even closed beaches.

    Also in response to CDC recommendations, the custom college papers Leesburg Center for the Arts did not hold the Leesburg Art Festival, which was scheduled for the past weekend.

    Meanwhile, the first local coronavirus case was confirmed on Monday, as Florida cases rose to 130.