NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's no secret that Bike Fest has gotten a bad wrap over the years, and many African-American bikers will say they haven't been treated fairly.
In fact in 2011, the NAACP filed a law suit against two businesses for discrimination and settled out of court. But as thousands of riders roll into the Grand Strand some say attitudes seem to be changing.
"Especially the restaurants, they appreciate your money and you can tell," says Antwon Towers who has been coming to the festival for the past 18 years.
Some restaurants we spoke with also say they are welcoming bikers and are ready for a good time. Calli Bakers Firehouse Bar and Grill in North Myrtle Beach says its catering to the crowd.
"We have two high profile DJs coming in all four nights and we have liquor promotions and a special menu we have just for memorial day weekend," says Karen Butterworth, a bartender at the establishment.
Across the way in the parking lot, Hooters was packed and Harley Davidson has set up shop. Officials are down from Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a promotion specifically aimed at African-Americans.
"The African-American segment is a huge opportunity for us. More and more African-Americans are riding bikes and here at bike week we know they have a huge interest in riding sport bikes so we try to cater to that one," says John Comission, the director of market outreach for the company.
Bike Fest officially started Thursday at 2 p.m. and lasts through Memorial Day.