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Harley rally: ‘they’re going to hear it’

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Earplugs will not be required on Main Street on Oct. 8 but some people might want them that day.

To mark its arrival on the street, a shop selling Harley-Davidson goods plans to hold a celebration that organizers predict could draw hundreds of motorcyclists to Old Town that afternoon.

The Park City Council on Thursday night, in a vote that did not draw interest from regular Parkites, approved a permit for the event.

There were some worries from the elected officials about the noise from the motorcycles but the City Council saw the celebration as potentially being a fun and revenue-generating event.

The celebration is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. in the Brew Pub lot on the southern, or uphill, end of Main Street and end at 4 p.m. The organizers plan a barbecue and an open house is scheduled at the Harley-Davidson shop, 324 Main St.

Brian Brown, the marketing director for Intermountain Harley-Davidson, which represents five dealerships in the region, said, if the weather is good, between 600 and 700 people are expected to attend. They would be driving between 300 and 400 motorcycles, he said

"The Harley-Davidson, for most people, is a way of life," Brown said.

Brown described the Harley-Davidson shop as a boutique. It will not sell motorcycles but be stocked with clothes and souvenirs, he said. Brown expected that the shop will open by the middle of next week.

Intermountain Harley-Davidson mailed about 14,000 invitations to the event, he said. It coincides with an annual fall ride by the motorcyclists.

"Nobody in this city will have any question of what’s going on," he said. "They’re going to hear it. They’re going to see it."

The parking spaces on the east side of upper Main Street will be designated for the motorcycles.

The event is public.

The City Council briefly discussed how loud the motorcycles will be, with City Councilwoman Candy Erickson mentioning what she expects.

"The noise makes me nuts," she said, adding, "It does make me crazy."

The event, though, marks the continuing efforts to enliven Main Street with festivals and other one- or two-day celebrations. Earlier in the year, for instance, Main Street was closed briefly to allow people who own Mustang cars to put them on display.

The businesses on Main Street generally see the events, smaller than the annual Park City Arts Festival and Sundance Film Festival, as ways to draw people who otherwise might not visit and as a method to keep Main Street competitive with outlying shopping areas.

It is believed that the event would be the largest gathering of motorcycles in Park City since 1999, when the city hosted four days of vintage motorcycle races as part of a national festival.

That event upset lots of neighbors, especially in Thaynes Canyon. The Park City Council at the time allowed the motorcyclists to race through Thaynes Canyon, infuriating some of the people who live there. The event did not return for a second year.

The 1999 festival became a peripheral issue in that fall’s City Council campaign, when the incumbents lost re-election bids or did not seek another term in office.

City Councilman Roger Harlan, who was in office in 1999 but not up for re-election that year, noted on Thursday that the event then was good but was scrapped after the first year. He supported the 1999 festival.

Brown, from Intermountain Harley-Davidson, said the Main Street streetscape the day of the Oct. 8 celebration, a Sunday, will be very different from a typical weekend.

"That’s what I’d like to see, Harley-Davidsons top to bottom," he said.


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