MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Muskegon will be loud and colorful this weekend as the eight annual Bike Time festival returns to town. Organizers say it's the fastest growing motorcycle event in the country: back in 2007 only 20,000 people attended but this year you can expect five times that number.
With a great weather forecast, Muskegon Bike Time organizers expect big crowds all weekend. "Motorcyclists wait for the last minute and and if they see zero rain and sunshine then they will make plans to come to the lakeshore this weekend," said festival organizer John VanYck.
Attendance should top 100,000 people with 80,000 motorcycles. Bike Time does attract riders from around the country but has grown because so many Michigan residents participate.
"This is more fun than Daytona," said Randy Raines, a Jackson resident whose drag trike has a parachute and wheelie-bar.
And speaking of bars, two new breweries on Western Avenue are serving their first Bike Time customers. The Pigeon Hill Brewing Company is right on Steel Horse Alley, as is the UnRuly Brewing Company.
"It was just the perfect location for us," said Eric Hoffman, of UnRuly Brewing Company. At Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, co-owner Michael Brower said business was booming. "Last night was better than a typical Thursday."
Both breweries have been brewing and storing beer for the busy four days, including one beer named after a famous motorcycle engine. "One beer we call Shovelhead and that is a light ale," explained Hoffman.
The growth Bike Time has seen in eight years could someday lead to an expansion of the event's length; for now that decision is being tabled by the festival's board. "Right now it is a four day festival, so it is looking that way for the near future," VanYck said.
At 10:30 Sunday morning the Patriot Ride leaves Hot Rod Harley-Davidson. That's a scenic ride around Muskegon County that includes a police escort so the hundreds of motorcycle riders don't have to stop for red lights or stop signs. The ride also raises money for two area charities. Muskegon Bike Time concludes Sunday afternoon.