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Atlantic Beach sees smaller Bikefest attendance, wants to make next year bigger

Atlantic Beach town officials said Bikefest turnout was down this year. (Source: WMBF News) Atlantic Beach town officials said Bikefest turnout was down this year. (Source: WMBF News)

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Atlantic Beach town officials said weekend storms may have been responsible for the lower Bikefest turnout on certain days of the weekend, but they are ready to start planning for 2017.

According to the town's manager, Benjamin Quattlebaum, Atlantic Beach makes money by charging vendors to set up during Bikefest weekend. The fees range anywhere in price from $800 to $2,000 based on the size of the tent space. 

However, fewer vendors participated in the 2016 Bikefest. 

Quattlebaum said only 55 vendors were at the festival, which is down from 85 in 2015.

"This year, even though our numbers were down, ... my preliminary numbers report that, fiscally, we may do as as good as we did last year," he said.

In January 2017, town council will approve an ordinance to host Bikefest, but Quattlebaum said he wants to recommend to council the town start planning for next year immediately.

"We can start planning to make it bigger and more expansive than it has been in the past," he said.

Quattlebaum added he also plans to suggest to council that entertainment be added to Bikefest. 

"That's one of the things some of the vendors mentioned to us, if we had some type of entertainment  it would be a better draw for them or it would bring more participation to the event," Quattlebaum said

The town manager said there has been no entertainment over the last few years, but he admitted that to add it to the festival would require sponsorships. 

His last suggestion to council would be to add more events year-round and not rely solely on Bikefest. 

Quattlebaum stressed it's not just about the revenue, but about sharing the town's history in the hopes it will help it to thrive. 

"In terms of the history of the town, it has such a rich history it needs to be expanded," he said. "The story needs to be told."

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