Biketoberfest® 's Birthmother -- Janet Kersey, a Daytona Beach native and the official "The Birthmother of Biketoberfest®" - was hired as the director of tourism events by the DBACVB to create new festivals and events that would attract visitors during the off-season periods. Her first assignment was to create a special event, similar to the ever-popular Bike Week, centered on the American Motorcycle Association's annual fall races held each October at Daytona International Speedway. This first event, originally named "The Daytona Fall Tour," was held on October 16-18, 1992.
Biketoberfest® Is Born -- The success of the Convention and Visitors Bureau's Daytona Fall Tour attracted increased interest from local merchants and the surrounding community. In 1993, local companies -- such as The News-Journal Corporation, Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Harley-Davidson -- sponsored concerts, trade shows, and other activities. Under the CVB's direction, the Biketoberfest® Development Committee was established and as a result, the number of activities increased to 40 in a three-day time span.
That year, the event's name also changed from The Daytona Fall Tour to the newly created Biketoberfest®. The new name became popular domestically and internationally, especially among motorcycle enthusiasts in Germany where the Oktoberfest celebration is held nationwide. The CVB's London office began a marketing campaign aimed at drawing European bikers who wanted to escape Europe's winter weather and enjoy a fun-filled Florida holiday.
Biketoberfest® 1993 drew 15,000 new visitors and generated more than $4.6 million dollars for the Daytona Beach area. In 1993 the CVB registered the name Biketoberfest® with the US Trademark office, marking it the first US trademark registered motorcycle event in the country. The CVB has since actively pursued any violations and maintains all legal rights under the US Trademark laws.
Growth Spurt (1994-1997)-- Biketoberfest® 1994 featured 80 countywide activities over a four-day period, attracting about 25,000 new visitors from Florida, the eastern and western United States, and Canada. Those visitors generated an estimated $4.6 million impact.
The number of countywide activities during Biketoberfest® 1995 grew to more than 150. Approximately 43,000 visitors from the United States, Canada, and Europe visited the area during the motorcycle festival. The total economic impact was $20.75 million, prompting a further expansion of the event in 1996.
Biketoberfest® 1996 expanded to more than 300 activities in two counties --Volusia and St. Johns. Also that year, the tourism bureau launched a Web page for the event.
Biketoberfest® 1997 was named one of the top 25 events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. It had an attendance of approximately 60,000. The event generated an economic impact of $32 million.
Biketoberfest® 1998- With the addition of the NASCAR Pepsi 400 to the October schedule of events, Biketoberfest® 1998 was filled with activities that the entire family could enjoy. Returning activities included the Fall Cycle Scene Championship Cup Series and The Daytona Beach Harley-Davidson Seafood Festival. There was also a special appearance by legendary daredevil Evel Knievel.
Also new to the line-up was the "Tuesday Night Biketoberfest® Internet Chat" hosted by the CVB. The chat -- held every Tuesday night leading up to Biketoberfest® -- gave visitors a chance to ask questions and find out up-to-the-minute information about the event. Lucky participants even got the chance to "chat" with a celebrity.
Biketoberfest® 1999- Once again, Biketoberfest® was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events. Approximately 75,000 motorcycle enthusiasts attended the event. On the Internet, the official event Web site settled into its permanent home at biketoberfest.org and hosted Easy Rider star Peter Fonda online.
Biketoberfest® 2000 - This year the event included several new activities, the most ambitious being the Daytona Harley-Davidson Thunder Over Dixie 2000. This touring event and concert benefited the Boggy Creek Gang Camp -- a year-round camping facility for chronically ill children and their families.
Also that year, the Biketoberfest® Development Committee expanded its rider safety campaign. Done in conjunction with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, the campaign included posters and radio public service announcements. In addition, the campaign was promoted on the official Biketoberfest® Web site. The Biketoberfest® Web site included rider safety tips, information on the city's code of conduct and a link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site. The committee also continued its three-year-old "Please Ride Quietly" campaign which reminded visitors and residents to ride without excessive revving or roaring of engines, especially after 11 p.m.
Biketoberfest® 2001- The Daytona Beach area's first post-September 11 major tourism event attracted motorcycle enthusiasts from throughout the U.S. who proudly displayed their US patriotism. The event was also host to a record 8 major fundraising campaigns by area non-profit organizations, including Easter Seals of Volusia and Flagler Counties, the United Way of Volusia- Flagler Counties, the Florida Lions Conklin Centers for the Blind and the Zangi Grotto Masonic lodge. That year, Biketoberfest® was designated a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for October 2001.
Biketoberfest® 2002- Biketoberfest® celebrated its tenth anniversary during the 2002 festivities. In commemoration of this milestone, the Convention and Visitors Bureau created and distributed the event's official tenth anniversary poster at local visitor information centers. In addition, Main Street jeweler Humphreys & Son sold limited edition commemorative Biketoberfest® coins. Only 500 of the pure silver coins were minted.
Biketoberfest® 2003- The eleventh annual Biketoberfest® event was a celebrity-studded affair that featured appearances by The Teutel Family -- stars of the popular Discovery Channel series American Chopper -- and Jesse James -- star of the cable network's Monster Garage program. The 2003 event also marked the debut of the official Biketoberfest® Pocket Guide and merchandise line. In addition, the popular festival was selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events for the month of October 2003.
Biketoberfest® 2004 - Even an historic hurricane season in August and September couldn't stop the momentum of Biketoberfest®. The Daytona Beach Area CVB launched a colorful new web site at biketoberfest.org, where visitors can book rooms and find out about the latest events. Biketoberfest® 2004 was enhanced with early activities the weekend before, such as the first Stars and Stripes Weekend on Main Street. The event was named as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society and also won three Kaleidoscope awards from the Southeast Chapter of the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA). Although there was no racing at the Daytona International Speedway because of infield construction, the first Buffalo Chip event was held there.
Biketoberfest® 2005 - The 13th edition of Biketoberfest® came and went like a typical teenager - unpredictable and highly dramatic! With Wilma lingering south for the entire four days of the event, crowds were lighter than anticipated. Visitors who were here for the festival reported having a great time throughout the event, however. One major highlight was the grand opening of Destination Daytona, a 109,000 square food Harley Davidson dealership which will welcome bikers year-round. Inside the complex the Daytona Beach Area CVB opened an 'Official Welcome Center.'
Biketoberfest® 2006 - Budweiser may be the king of beers, but in 2006 it was the king of Biketoberfest®, joining the event lineup as the newest promotional partner - signing a one year agreement to be the 'Official Beer of Biketoberfest® !' The new partner presented at many activities throughout the 14th weekend including the new Budweiser Cool Your Pipes Zone at the Daytona International Speedway. The Speedway kicked it up a notch with more displays, live entertainment, food and apparel vendors at its Kickstand City, in addition to its Fall Cycle Scene races. The fall event continues to spread throughout a countywide area, with bikers hanging out at the traditional hot spots of Main Street, Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard, Gilly's Pub 44 and all the great places on US Highway 1. But they are also enjoying areas farther away, like Destination Daytona and the Rajun Cajun event at Inlet Harbor in Ponce Inlet. Ride on!
Biketoberfest® 2007 - Beautiful fall weather was the order of the day as over 175,000 bikers showed up for this top rated US Rally. It was a picture perfect time with folks arriving from all across the US called by the open road and the beautiful, sunny weather and cool fall breezes Florida is famous for. You could literally walk down the street and see license plates from every state. New to the event line up was a great new promotional partner State Farm of Florida®! Yes those friendly guys and gals were out and about all weekend with visitors having the time of their lives. Additionally we added the first ever (at any rally we're told) Official Tatoo of the event logo. At Daytona International Speedway they opened the doors to free access to the races, fan zones and added a new event called the Monster Mile where you could actually ride your own bike around this World Famous Speedway. Additionally the newly re-vamped Daytona 500 Experience attraction was hosting an open house, showcasing all the new attraction updates and activities for visitors for FREE. Destination Daytona's new pavillian was rocking as well with a live performances. Area events continued to expand throughout the entire County of Volusia too with over 100 different locations adding on site events, live entertainment and fun for participants of all ages. Riding was at a premium and many folks had the opportunity to see the treasured back roads known mostly by the locals. It was great riding, beautiful bikes and lots of new friendships made as this version of the event goes down in the history books as a perfect ending to the riding season.
Biketoberfest® 2008 - Celebrating 16 years, this annual motorcycle festival continued to attract crowds from throughout the United States and Canada. Estimates were in the 125,000 range but with more events taking place all throughout the county it was much more difficult to count. The growth of activities expanded all the way over to DeLand Main Street where they held their first rally which attracted lots of great new attendee's. This lovely town was the back drop for some great riding too throughout Volusia County. Over on Main Street in Daytona Beach our first ever "Miss Main Street" took center stage welcoming visitors as the official ambassador. Rachel Thorne - a biochemistry student at the University of Alabama - and one of our favorite local gals enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many people from all across the globe. "It was one of the best experiences of my life. People were so friendly and fun, I loved it" she said.
Over at Daytona International Speedway things really started to take shape with even more manufactures signed on for demonstration rides, customer activities and lots of great feature and safety information for riders. They also kick up the fun at Kickstand City where you could enjoy all the racing action on the track, camp out, enjoy live entertainment and get a free admission to the Speedway's famous Daytona 500 Experience. All thanks to track President Robin Braig who's vision for welcoming guest at the speedway continues to add great fun and adventure among visiting bikers. They also continued with their very popular Monster Dash where folks could ride their own bikes around this famed super-speedway . Videos were also provided to each participant. State Farm continued as the Official Insurance Company of Biketoberfest® noting it was one of the more successful campaigns engaged in with many bikers picking up custom t-shirts and checking out insurance and loan options. On the marketing side the event took center stage on the social front starting the first ever Biketoberblog where guests could post photo's and talk about the event and all the fun experiences they had. Additionally staff of the CVB went out and about during the event to take video which was posted on You Tube to show event locations and fun things to do. Mother Nature even cooperated with beautiful weather all weekend long.
Biketoberfest® 2009 - Dedicated to our greatest supporter, Bruce Rossmeyer this was the first major event held since his untimely passing during the 2009 Sturgis Rally. Family and friends gathered to pay tribute to this great man and his remarkable contributions to the biking world and this great event. Family members held strong and certainly made Bruce proud as they continued with the Rossmeyer Family tradition of great events. Hosting for the first time the Big Daddy Rat Annual Bike Show their Destination Daytona complex featured more vendors, entertainment and guests than ever before. They also had a great entertainment line up in Riverfront Park just across the street from their original Daytona Harley Davidson dealership in Daytona Beach which was new for 2009. Just down the street a little way was Carl Morrow from Carl's Speed Shop who moved his operations back to the Beach Street location just in time for the event. The Daytona 200 Motorcycle club also started a great country mystery tour where riders could follow set routes that take them throughout the countryside for a casual autumn ride in beautiful back road settings. Daytona International Speedway continued to expand their offerings with free parking, trailer parking and free admission to great racing action along with annual crowd favorites such as the Monster Dash, expo's, demo rides and lots of food and refreshments. Biketoberfest® also made it debut on the social networks in a big way starting fan sites on Face Book and Twitter. Overall it was estimated the crowds held steady to last years estimated 125,000 attendee's - despite a sagging economy and troubled financial outlooks for our Nation. Yes bikers seem to be a resistant crowd, but who could blame them. Sometimes getting away from it all can make life better. That was certainly seen at Biketoberfest® 2009.
Biketoberfest® 2010 - The 18th version of the annual event had its usual great activities -- street festivals, touring rides, bike shows, food sensations. But there was more excitement than there had been in a while in 2010. Maybe it was the beautiful beach weather. Maybe it was prompted by biker cabin fever. Maybe it was just the inevitable resurgence of a local tradition. Whatever the reason, local restaurants, vendors and hotels said Biketoberfest® was back in 2011, meeting their hopeful expectations and fueling their optimism for future biker rallies. The weekend literally rocked. You could find live music anywhere and everywhere, with the highlight being Saturday night's Jam for America, which featured Gretchen Wilson, John Anderson, Bucky Covington and Chris Cagle jamming at City Island Park. Although there were no races at Daytona International Speedway because of the repaving project, DIS didn't miss a beat -- offering manufacturer demo rides, as well as parts, accessories and the latest and greatest from industry manufacturing leaders. As part of the destination's new "Festival Season 2.0 promotion," Biketoberfest® garnered even more nationwide attention than usual, especially on its web sites, Facebook site and on Twitter. Blogger Kathy Catron won several awards for her reports, video and social networking during the event. Seems like Biketoberfest® was everywhere in 2010. We can't wait for 2011!
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