Harley Week revs up on the Grand Strand as we get closer to the peak weekend.
“There are a ton of riders in town, to say that this rally is busy is to put it lightly. We’ve been slammed,” says Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson event coordinator Jenn DeLuca.
Bikers in the area say the second weekend is usually the busiest one; so far this year 82 permits have been granted for vendors.
A busy start to the second weekend is a sight veteran vendor Ken Tollefson welcomes, “there were a few years where there were hardly any vendors here, everyone was struggling. Now everybody’s coming back and a lot of people coming in.”
Tollefson says he’s seen a lot of other changes in the past ten years on the job, “there’s more and more bikers coming out, especially women, you see more women everyday. Everybody’s coming out on the bikes,” says Tollefson.
One of those women riders is Melissa Wrandy from Somerville, “we come every year to the bike rally. We come mid-week and stay through the weekend. It’s been a tradition for 6 years.”
Wrandy rode in from Somerville with her husband, but for her, riding is nothing new.
“I grew up on dirt bikes and about 4 years ago my husband bought me a sportster, so I’ve been riding on my own for the past 3 or so years,” says Wrandy.
She says the biggest change she’s seen at the rally has been in peoples perceptions, “everybody used to say bikers were the bad boy, but bikers do a lot of good. They do a lot of good for people who need help. We do rides in Charleston, cancer rides and we do rides for autistic children. And it raises a lot of money.”
One of those charitable rides is taking place Friday morning. Harley-Davidson is hosting its scenic cruise the coast ride to benefit quilts of valor.
It starts at 11am at the Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach and will take riders on scenic spots along the Grand Strand.
The rally itself runs through Sunday.