LEESBURG, Fla. - The Leesburg Partnership initially moving the event from April to November. Now they say it’s not happening at all.
“We thought we could do it, but without the state going into Level 3 COVID response, we felt like we couldn’t host the event,” said Joe Shipes, CEO of the Leesburg Partnership.
It’s a huge hit for the local economy. Bikefest usually means concerts, lots of vendors, and of course a massive crowd of visitors.
“Somewhere between 200,000 to 300,000 people over the full three to four days of the event. The event impacts almost five counties through hotel stays, campground stays,” Shipes explained.
Local business owners and bikers are already feeling the pain.
“All the bikers come together in the community, we come down here, we meet,” said John Sokol, a biker and business owner in Leesburg. “For our bottom line, it’s a major part of our bottom line, and to lose it, like I said earlier, on top of COVID, it has been a very hard year.”
Over at “Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe,” Owner Joyce Huey says Bikefest usually gives her about a 40% boost.
“We, this year lost quite a bit of money already because it didn’t take place and now that’s it’s not going to take place…we’re a little disappointed but we get it,” Huey said.
Now, the community hoping the riders will return in the spring. Bikefest has been rescheduled for April of 2021.