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Opponents Welcome Bikers To Storm Battered Daytona

October 19, 2004
Filed under Features

Daytona Beach, Fla., residents welcomed the first riders to Biketoberfest this week, as the storm battered area prepared for the annual motorcycle party, even ones who usually don’t want the riders in town. One retailer of t-shirts and beachwear told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper that this is the first income he’s had in weeks. The man had set up a stand in front of his ruined store on Hwy. A1A. Biketoberfest, which normally attracts about 100,000 people, starts Thursday and runs through Sunday. Many businesses reported tremendous turnout this past weekend.
Visiting bikers will provide a financial boost for many beachside merchants. Dozens of hotels and retail stores along A1A suffered roof and structural damage, crowds expected for Labor Day weekend evaporated, and there have been few visitors since the storms subsided. About 75% of the region’s 13,548 rooms are available, according to a report by the Sentinel.
Even longtime critics of the event, such as Beachside Neighborhood Watch Chairman Frank Heckman, are happy to see the bikers. Heckman, who often criticizes the noise from bikers, asked the City Commission to allow Biketoberfest sales to start earlier so businesses can start making money again. Main Street, the thoroughfare at the heart of Daytona’s biker events, fared well through the storms. On Monday, nearly every storefront was open.

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