ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The town of Atlantic Beach is gearing up for this year's Memorial Day Bikefest and is hoping to make the event a little more family friendly.
Atlantic Beach Town Manager William Booker says he is hoping for big crowds who will spend money in the area. He says this year, there will be more activities geared specifically towards bikers, such as stunt shows.
"The Bikefest is really on. It's reshaped a bit," Booker said. "We've got new leadership in town and we are focused on trying to dedicate a bike rally to bikers, as well as bikers' families."
Sand Beachwear owner Shlomi Dadush hopes the event will boost his business.
"This is Christmas in May," Dadush said. "I think it's going to be a very big weekend. It's going to draw more people over here and I think it's going to be the biggest one."
Last year's new rules implemented in the City of Myrtle Beach are keeping some bikers away from the area and in Atlantic Beach instead.
"The numbers are growing as opposed to what Myrtle Beach has done with the helmet laws and trying to kick out bikers, so what they have done is spread the event out to the outlining areas," biker Charles Wright said. "So the word is getting out and people are coming back. They are just not going to Myrtle Beach."
Atlantic Beach Police Chief Eric Lewis wants bikers to know they are welcome and says the police department is changing laws for certain areas of the town.
"Here in Atlantic Beach, we will be enforcing our open container laws," Lewis said. "But if it's certain designated area that I have approved for people to serve or sell beer, it won't be a problem at those locations."
In addition to fluctuating open container laws, officials say Atlantic Beach will not be enforcing a noise ordinance on motorcycles. Bikers will also not have to pay an entrance fee to enter Atlantic Beach and there will be a limited amount of free parking on a first-come, first-served basis.
Forty officers from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in addition to 20 troopers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol will be helping the Atlantic Beach Police Department. The National Guard will also be on hand with helicopters.
Organizers say the event will kick-off Friday at 11 a.m. with live music, multiple vendors and five stunt shows performed daily. A street party, organizers add, will wrap each night up at 2 a.m.
Memorial Day Bikefest is slated to wrap up on Monday.