Over the last weekend, March 4-7, as planned, we visited the main motorcycling event of the season: the Daytona Bike Week.
Daytona Bike Week is the annual festival and motorcycle rally taking place in Daytona Beach in Florida. Every year this ten-day event attracts hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts. Daytona Bike Week competes in popularity and scale with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
This year’s 75th Anniversary edition (March 4th to 13th) was held on an exceptionally large scale. It was set to become the biggest, best, and most memorable Daytona rally in history. Its official sponsor this year is none other than Harley-Davidson themselves.
The tiny city with a population of 63 thousand was swarmed with an enormous number of motorcyclists. Over 500 thousand were expected to come this year. It’s also worth noting that the city tends to attract motorcycle lovers even during “peacetime”, as it is the venue of one of the largest and most famous Harley-Davidson dealerships: the Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Harley-Davidson.
The exhibition that takes place within the festival is a good place to find apparel, gear, spare parts, and, of course, motorcycles. There are modern and retro, sport and custom models – one to suite every taste.
The entertainment programme easily met the quality of previous years. It incorporated motorcycle parades and displays, races, several stages with live music, themed parties, contests, street food, and rallies, some of them for charitable causes.
We spent a whole day at the festival and got loaded with the positive spirit of the biker brotherhood for many months to come. After we had experienced as much as we could, part of our team turned back home and the rest of us continued on our way further North towards the city of Palatka.
This name, which sounds funny to Russian speakers, should not be confused with the town of Palatka in the Magadan Region of Russia which has a population of slightly over 4 thousand. The Palatka in Florida is a tourist city on the banks of the St. Johns River with a population of 10.5 thousand. We were driving towards this place again to visit the Florida Azalea Festival.
The Florida Azalea Festival is one of the oldest festivals in Florida and has been held annually on the first weekend of March since 1936. Over two days the free festival gathers some 35-40 thousand visitors.
The festival’s programme, apart from family entertainment events such as the beauty pageant, the bowling tournament and other fun, features the Antique Automobile Club of the America Car Show. This was what attracted us in the first place. Of course, this show couldn’t beat the Daytona Festival, but it also had a lot to see. Witness it for yourselves!