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Riders make Bike Week special for businesses

July 15, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • A row of motorcycles are parked Friday along Potomac Street for the Hagerstown Center City Bike Night.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

The first blocks of North and South Potomac Street were lined with long rows of motorcycles Friday evening as bikers packed the area around The Maryland Theatre for Hagerstown Center City Bike Night.

The event, centered around the theater's "Wind Down Friday" outdoor concert, was part of Hagerstown Bike Week, a four-day event in and around Hagerstown that began Thursday evening and continues through Sunday.

On Potomac Street, the machines may have been the center of attention, but for many downtown businesses, it was the riders — and the many spectators who came to ogle their rides — that made the event special.

"It's only been going on an hour, and we already have a full patio," Jay Fowler, a chef at Legends on the Square, said around 5:30 p.m. Normally, the bar doesn't see that many patrons until later in the evening, he said.

This is the first year Hagerstown has held a bike week.

The idea grew out of the five or so bike shows hosted annually at Cancun Cantina, said Jennifer Miller, organizer of Hagerstown Bike Week and one of the owners of Cancun Cantina.

Hoping to draw more people to Hagerstown, Miller said she and others felt 2011 would be a good time to expand  the bike shows by hosting a bike week.

By coordinating with Williamsport Bike Nite and Harley Davidson dealerships in Chambersburg, Pa., Frederick, Md., and Williamsport, Hagerstown Bike Week will engage dozens of businesses this year, she said.

Miller said she hoped Hagerstown Bike Week would draw about 8,000 people in its inaugural year.

"Do I think next year will be better?" she asked. "Yes. I think more people will want to get on board with this in the future. I'd like to see it spread across the town."

Elton Ensor, 86, of Warfordsburg, Pa., said he was impressed with the Hagerstown Bike Week from what he had seen so far Friday evening.

"It's nice," he said. "They've got it set up good."

Ensor, who decorated his Harley Davidson with American flags and a POW flag, said he thought he might be the only World War II veteran among the bikers.

Ragan Smith, 63, of Hagerstown said he was impressed with the extent of the vendors and other offerings at Hager Hall.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "Everything you can imagine's out there, inside and out. I hope they have more of these."

Smith said his favorite part of the event was checking out the other bikes.

"You've got bikes that are worth $100,000 out at Cancun Cantina," he said. "Beautiful paint jobs."

Cody Miller, 4, of Hagerstown pointed out his favorite motorcycles as he and his sisters and grandmother watched the bikers arrive downtown.

"I like that blue one," Cody said, pointing out a shiny bike with room to seat two. "I could ride on that with Pappy."

Cody said he had never been on a motorcycle, but his grandfather has, and he thought it looked like fun.

Many people admiring the bikes on South Potomac Street stopped to snap cellphone pictures of "Twister," a custom trike built by Tony Pannuty of Martinsburg, W.Va.

 White with neon paint, his creation had the rear-end of a car, two seats, and one front wheel.

"I took a car motor, and we built everything around it," said Pannuty, who owns Tony's Auto Sales and Service in Martinsburg.

Staff Writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this story.

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If you go...

What: Hagerstown Bike Week

When: Continues today and Sunday

Where: Hager Hall Event Center, Barefoot Bernies Bar & Grill, and Cancun Cantina; Williamsport Bike Nite, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday in Williamsport, Md.

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