MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – The first weekend of the 77th Annual Spring Harley Rally is in the books and businesses are seeing numbers that would generally be reserved for the final days of the event.
One local business, SBB in Murrells Inlet, is already seeing a 30 percent increase from the 2015 rally, with six days to go and many more people still riding in.
"We just had a hundred people just come in here, said Tony DiDonato, the international president of the Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Association. "We just rode in here today."
DiDonato has been coming to the spring rally for the last 10 years. He said the event seems to be growing larger and larger each year.
"We're seeing second-weekend numbers on our first weekend, and it's just blowing us away," said Bill Barber, general manager of SBB. "It's going to be an incredible rally, that's if the weather holds up."
Record-breaking rainfall hit the fall rally hard and Barber said it may be the driving force behind some of these crowds.
"A lot of people that were at the fall rally, and couldn't come out, or only could come out a little because of the rain, decided to come to the spring rally," Barber said.
He added the bars reached capacity on and off over this first weekend.
"All through the weekend our lot was full, numerous times where we had to shut it down, and then a few bikes would leave and we'd open it up and pack it up." Barber said. "Even late into the night, 1:30 in the morning last night, we were standing room only."
Many of the bikers riding into town are charity- and organization-based. One of those organizations is the Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Association. DiDonato said it's all about getting to know each other and working toward a cause.
"All week we get to know each other better," he said. "It's unity, it's brotherhood and that's what it really means to us. We come here to see people we don't see all year, friends from all over the country."
The Teamster Horsemen are holding their annual conference on Thursday and enjoying the rally in the meantime.
As for the rest of the rally, Barber said he expects crowds to double this coming weekend.