Businesses stepping up entertainment for Spring Bike Rally -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Businesses stepping up entertainment for Spring Bike Rally

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MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Bikers, Rev your engines! Starting May 16th, the Grand Strand will be the home away from home for bikers swarming here for the Harley Davidson Spring Bike Rally.

Nine businesses are gearing up for some biker action, including places like Suck Bang Blow. Manager Todd Pierce says local businesses have put in a lot of effort trying to convince bikers to come back to the Grand Strand after the City of Myrtle Beach implemented and then reversed the mandatory helmet law within city limits.

Now that the issue is behind them, he says they're looking ahead to bringing back the rally to the way things used to be.

"Will we ever get where we were? That's a really big unknown. I mean if we do it will take many, many years, but if we can see a slow and steady increase year over year, I think it will make all of us in the industry happy and allow us to keep moving forward," says Pierce.

And Suck Bang blow says for the first time in more than three years, they're actually loosening the budget belt, expanding the budget for entertainment. They plan to shell out about $100,000 dollars just in entertainment alone, during the 7-day rally. "We're going with a circus theme over at Suck Bang Blow: 4 Corners. We're going to have lots of side show acts, fire breathers, sword swallowers. we've got midget wrestling coming," says Pierce.

Between word of mouth to traveling to other bike festivals to physically hand out flyers, many businesses say they're optimistic, but there's always a huge question mark if the bikers will flock to the coast in May.

Although there's no real numbers on how many bikers show up to these rallies each year, Pierce estimates the Grand Strand saw more than 300,00 bikers during its prime. But with the mandatory helmet law and the economy hitting around the same time, Pierce thinks it dropped those numbers by more than half. So now it's a waiting game to see what next month's rally will bring, hopefully a big turnout in bikers and revenue.

Here are the list of businesses that have applied for a special event permit with Horry County: Myrtle Beach Mall, HB Spokes Restaurant, Rat Hole, Myrtle Beach Harley Davidson, Suck Bank Blow 4 Corners and Original, Beaver Bar, Mr. Fireworks and Hooters (by the Myrtle Beach Mall.) Horry County is expected to approve these permits by the end of this week. In North Myrtle Beach, the only area of the city where vendors are allowed is Barefoot Landing.

Permits for Vendors for the Harley Davidson Spring Rally will be accepted starting April 18th up until the 7 day rally begins. The Harley Davidson Spring Rally is scheduled for the week of May 16th through May 22nd.

And looking ahead to the Memorial Day Bike Fest, which will be held May 26th-29th, and vendor permits will be accepted starting April 21st.

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