Crowds slowly roll in for Biketoberfest, many head to Ormond Beach

It was a much different day-one of Biketoberfest as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though not canceled, in Daytona Beach, the event’s main hub, vendors were not allowed in a measure by the city to curb transmission. Albert Sousa comes every year. He said this year it’s a much different atmosphere.

“Nothings open down here. It’s not what it’s supposed to be,” he said.

He said even for the first day, the crowds were much less.

“Nowhere near what it was probably a tenth of what it was,” he said.

RELATED: No outdoor vendors or concerts permitted at Biketoberfest 

Chief Craig Capri expects that to change - anticipating larger crowds on Saturday. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, he reminded bikers to take COVID safety upon themselves. 

“I think everybody’s doing the best they can to try to control from getting this but at the end of the day it’s the individual’s responsibility,” he said.

He said his officers will be on the ground controlling traffic and is hoping for no troubles.

“If you’re coming, you need to be cognisant of that if you’re gonna be in a jam packed room you’ve heard it over and over again wear a mask,” said Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Without vendors, some people opted for Ormond Beach, where city leaders did allow them.

“Everybody’s in Ormond that’s where we’re going next,” said Steve Primaver, who stopped by Main Street first. 

Dean Pepe, with Destination Daytona said he was happy to see bikers and vendors back. 

He said as far as safety measures, they are handing out hand sanitizer and trying to lead by example. “We’re doing it with our messaging with our staff wearing marks and distancing we’re trying to lead the way to get other people to comply,” he said.