Businesses preparing for large turnout during upcoming 2021 Spring Bike Rally events
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - In just one week, motorcycle engines will be revving up along the Grand Strand to kick off the Myrtle Beach Spring Bike Week.
It comes nearly a year after many organizers postponed or canceled events due to COVID-19.
Organizers of the spring rally decided to postpone last year’s event due to coronavirus concerns. Even then, the turnout in July wasn’t as big as some businesses and vendors would’ve hoped.
“It was a waste of time,” said Jamie Keats, owner of Jamin’ Leather in Myrtle Beach. “Totally, at least for us.”
This year, many businesses say they’re hopeful about the turnout for this year’s spring event because more people are expected to participate in the week-long festivities.
Based on conversations with customers and the number of people who visited his store during the fall rally, Keats is confident the turnout will be greater this year.
“A lot of customers come in talking about the rally,” he said. “And how they’re vaccinated and they’re able to get out and do a little bit more, it’s nice to see them showing a lot of interest. Even this [past] fall bike rally, it was almost the best fall rally I had in over ten years. So if that’s any indication of what to expect for the spring rally it should be a very big outcome.”
He said Jamin’ Leather will have vendors outside and will also hold five poker runs and charity auctions to benefit charities.
“Staffing should be pretty easy,” he said. “We’ll be okay even though it might be a little challenging at moments.”
Keats says masks will be recommended but not required, and they’re encouraging everyone to maintain social distancing.
Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson is also predicting a bigger turnout for the spring rally.
The dealership will officially kick off its portion of the rally on May 10 at the Sneaky Beagle in Carolina Forest.
“We are preparing for a record rally,” said Jenn DeLuca, events coordinator for the MB Harley-Davidson and Harley Shop at the Beach. “We typically go off Daytona bike week numbers, to give us an idea of the amount of travelers and the number of people coming to bike weeks that year. They had a record-setting year this year as well. So we are really expecting a huge turnout. Of course, we’re trying to be COVID-safe.”
For people wanting to see the vendors on-site, DeLuca says there will hand sanitizer stations set up for customers.
She says signage will be posted reminding people to keep six feet of distance from one another.
Masks will be recommended when coming inside the dealership location, but not required.
DeLuca says the organization’s staff are well-seasoned and will be fully prepared to handle the number of customers showing up for the events.
“We don’t have quite as much staff as we like but we have a good amount where we feel like we’re going to be able to handle the crowds,” DeLuca said. “We are prepared for a lot of people. We do hire additional rally help to help assist with the merchandise tent behind Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson. We started getting ready for the rally over a week and a half ago. It’s a lot that goes on to help make the [events] happen so we are still looking for more rally help.”
Restaurants like Pop Pops Pit BBQ in Murrells Inlet are also hoping for more bikers to come down for the week.
Front house manager Amber Poore said their employees have been told hotels and resorts in the area are booking up with reservations.
“With COVID happening last year, it kind of decreased the tourists coming in,” she said. “We’re super excited about people coming back to the beach.”
She says they’re doing all they can to ensure the business is fully prepared for any possible influx of people.
Poore says masks will not be required inside of the business.
“We do respect if they would like to [wear one],” she said.
Poore says the restaurant is looking to hire more employees soon, much like other businesses and restaurants in the Grand Strand.
“If we could get some more staff here that would be great,” she said. “Especially with bike week coming up.”
Event organizer Sonny Copeland says many businesses and vendors are excited to get back to the biker norm.
He added that everything is on course for this to be a busier spring biker week yet.
“I think we’re going to have an outstanding rally,” Copeland said. “People want to come, they’re going to come. People are ready to start enjoying life again.”
Myrtle Beach Bike Week kicks off May 7, wraps up on May 16.
Employees at Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson and Jamin’ Leather said they’re required to abide by Horry County’s spring rally vendor rules, and will be on site from May 10-16.
In Georgetown County, some vendors will be set up as early as May 7.
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