MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The countdown is on. The kick-off to Atlantic Beach's Bikefest festivities is Thursday, but people are already beginning to show up to the Grand Strand for the second bike rally of the month.
On Tuesday, Myrtle Beach Police are taking final Bikefest plans to city council, the city's spokesman said.
There are traffic barricades and signs already out along Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard, ready to go for the weekend.
The other two hot spots for bikers, Atlantic Beach and North Myrtle Beach, are getting their set-ups together.
Atlantic Beach is being transformed; several huge white tents are up, and fenced off, ready for what will house entertainment for the city's refreshed and renamed Bikefest: the Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival.
The promoter in charge said he left his usual Myrtle Beach Bikefest spot for Atlantic Beach.
The North Myrtle Beach Police chief stopped by to see the new set-up on Monday, and says his department will continue their community policing efforts which have worked in years past. That's knocking on doors, introducing themselves, and handing out Bikefest guides.
One helpful tool for everyone...especially visitors, is the Bikefest-dedicated website titled 'Know Before You Go.' It provides helpful tips on Myrtle Beach laws, has bike loop information...also policing information - like a tip that 42 license plate readers will be placed in the city.
Businesses along the Grand Strand have preparations of their own. Jeremy Berry works at Sand Beachwear. He said he spends all year designing and making thousands of t-shirts for Memorial Day weekend. Sand Beachwear stands out with one of the biggest Bikefest selection of t-shirts on the corner of Atlantic St. in Atlantic Beach. Berry said he's entering his sixth Bikefest, and he's excited to see how Atlantic Beach's bike celebrations turn out this year with the new entertainment set-up.
"A lot of people around here are still against it, which they shouldn't be. Because if you've never been down here for it, it's a really great time. There's good soul food being cooked, a lot of t-shirts being sold, merchandise...I mean, everybody's out here having a great time. It's a lot of laid back guys and if you've never been here...you should come for it, for sure," Berry said.
There are thirteen bands and artists in the line-up at Atlantic Beach's newly named Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival. Friday night has the first group of artists for 'Friday Night Blues,' Saturday is 'Ol' School Dance Party' and Sunday is 'Jazz and Jokes.'