Bike Week promoters stress COVID safety as they formally launch event

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  • A motorcylce couple heads north on I-93 in Concord on Friday morning, August 21, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • K. Peddlar Bridges puts out one of his books, “Laconia Motorcycle Week 1916: The Beginning,” in one of the booths along Weirs Beach in Laconia on Friday. Bridges, 74, has written three books on Bike Week and has been coming for the last 40 years. “Four years ago, I came up and haven’t left,” Bridges said. He says he plans on wearing a mask when he is close to people but won’t otherwise. “It’s in God’s hands,” he said. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • A display along Weirs Beach on Friday, August 21, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • K. Peddlar Bridges arrives at Bike Week to deliver one his books ‘Laconia Motorcycle Week 1916, The beginning..’ in one of the booths along Weirs Beach in Laconia on Friday, August 21, 2020. Bridges, 74, has written three books on Bike Week and has been coming for the last 40 years. “Four years ago, I came up and haven’t left,” Bridges said. He says he plans on wearing a mask when he is close to people but won’t otherwise. “It’s in God’s hands,” he said. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Motorcyclists arrive at Weirs Beach ahead of Bike Week on Friday, August 21, 2020. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • K. Peddlar Bridges arrives at Bike Week to deliver one his books ‘Laconia Motorcycle Week 1916, The beginning..’ at one of the booths along Weirs Beach in Laconia on Friday, August 21, 2020. Bridges, 74, has written three books on Bike Week and has been coming for the last 40 years. “Four years ago, I came up and haven’t left,” Bridges said. He says he plans on wearing a mask when he is close to people but won’t otherwise. “It’s in God’s hands,” he said. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • K. Peddlar Bridges arrives at Bike Week to deliver one his books ‘Laconia Motorcycle Week 1916, The beginning..’ at one of the booths along Weirs Beach in Laconia on Friday, August 21, 2020. Bridges, 74, has written three books on Bike Week and has been coming for the last 40 years. “Four years ago, I came up and haven’t left,” Bridges said. He says he plans on wearing a mask when he is close to people but won’t otherwise. “It’s in God’s hands,” he said. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • K. Peddlar Bridges arrives at Bike Week to deliver one his books ‘Laconia Motorcycle Week 1916, The beginning..’ at one of the booths along Weirs Beach in Laconia on Friday, August 21, 2020. Bridges, 74, has written three books on Bike Week and has been coming for the last 40 years. “Four years ago, I came up and haven’t left,” Bridges said. He says he plans on wearing a mask when he is close to people but won’t otherwise. “It’s in God’s hands,” he said. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Laconia Daily Sun
Published: 8/21/2020 3:15:51 PM
Modified: 8/21/2020 3:15:37 PM

At a time that has come to be known as the new normal, promoters of Laconia Motorcycle Week formally kicked off this year’s event stressing the need for safety – not only on the road, but off as well.

“We have always stressed safety. But this year we are adding a new area of safety we are stressing,” Jennifer Anderson, deputy director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said. She was referring to the steps that have been taken in the hope of reducing crowds and stressing the need to abide by guidelines designed to minimize the spread of coronavirus.

Joining Anderson for a news conference at the North East Motor Sports Museum were other association officials, along with representatives of the State Police, state Liquor Commission, the museum, and the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where motorcycle races will be held this weekend and next.

Fewer dignitaries showed up for the news conference than in past years, when the governor, mayor of Laconia, and the city’s police and fire chiefs often attended.

On Thursday Laconia City Councilor Tony Felch extended a brief welcome on behalf of the city.

“This year will look a lot different, but our welcoming attitude hasn’t changed,” Cynthia Makris, Motorcycle Week Association president, said in her opening remarks, standing at a podium with a 1929 Harley-Davidson displayed in front.

On Saturday – the first day of the nine-day event – the Naswa Resort, which Makris runs, will host a fundraising ride named for her late father, Peter Makris. Cynthia Makris noted the ride and similar events planned during the coming week show that “bikers are philanthropic to our charities.”

Motorcycle Week Executive Director Charlie St. Clair pointed out the steps that the organization has taken to promote social distancing and encourage people to wear face masks when they are not riding.

“The association has gone above and beyond this year,” he said.

Although there will be less happening at Weirs Beach this year – no vendor booths, outdoor entertainment stages, and less parking – “I think we’re going to be fine,” St. Clair said. The city “did the right thing” in not allowing vendor booths, he added.

Liquor Commission Chief of Enforcement Mark Armaganian said the agency has already spoken directly with 65 of the liquor license holders in the city to review the regulations that need to be followed.

In the last two weeks the state has stressed that it intends to strictly enforce the requirement that all bar and restaurant patrons be seated, and that they must wear a facemask whenever they are moving about.

“We feel it will be a successful event,” Armaganian said, adding that if people see infractions of the rules they should call the commission’s tip line at 271-3521.

Some bars and lounges have chosen to close for the week, saying they considered the regulations extremely tough to enforce strictly. As a result, they maintained, that opened them up to a much higher chance of having their liquor license suspended.

Armaganian said after the news conference that the regulations the liquor enforcers would be policing are not new.

“We’re haven’t changed the way we do business,” he said. “We’re not looking at this as an adversarial event.”

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

 


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