Leesburg Bikefest

May 28, 2019 3 min read

Leesburg Bikefest

How do you squeeze a few hundred thousand party animals into 30 blocks? Leesburg Bikefest is how. With over 60 free concerts, over 250 specialty vendors, six hot body contests, two custom bike shows, two car shows, moto stunt shows, precision drill teams, lots of great grub, plenty of cold beer and a different music headliner every day, the Leesburg Partnership has refined a perfect formula to deliver the largest and most popular three-day motorcycle rallies in the country.

Each year, during the last week of April, Leesburg, Florida turns away from its tranquil retirement roots and transforms into the biggest biker playground on the globe. This year marked 23 years for the annual rally and increasing popularity is keeping this party on the top of many must-do-events lists.

There is so much to see and do at Leesburg that you can’t possibly cram it all into three days. Within the downtown area there are five massive vendor locations, with exclusive events and live music at each. Down on Canal Street, sort of the Rock-a-Billy end of town, Charlie Ransom and his crew filled the observation deck above the vertical Walls of Death as they executed perilous deeds for capacity crowds. Live bands stopped only long enough for the Ms. Pin Up contestants to strut their stuff on the stage, in one of the six Hot Body contests that dotted the weekend’s event schedule.

Across the street at the Swamp, venue #2, Full Throttle hosted a ride-in custom bike show and divvied out some awesome handmade metal trophies. Our 
pal Radical Randy emceed the Ms. Budweiser contest. And for you ladies, the Mr. Lucky Man contest featured shirtless hunks to ogle.

At the Rat’s Hole, the Team Extreme Stunt Team sent clouds of smoke wafting into the atmosphere as they tore up the asphalt on one and two wheels.  Paul Teutul Sr. was on hand for autographs and pics for OCC groupies and Saturday’s Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show awarded over 75 trophies in 14 classes.

Add the Ms. Leesburg contest on the main stage, a daisy dukes contest, a deafening Big Rig Convoy parade of trucks, precision riding demos and two days of biker rodeo games, and you need a vacation to rest up from this vacation.

It has been joked about on more than one occasion that Leesburg Bikefest is actually a music rally that allows bikers to attend. Live music of every kind on five stages kept everyone’s toes tappin’. Bands included Big Engine, Bobby Friss, The Living Deads, Papa Wheelie, Hypersona and Justin Heat. In all, over 60 free concerts were spread throughout the weekend and it was elbow to elbow on the main stage for the headlining acts every night.

Speaking of music, there’s nothing like riding to this fun fest while cranking the tunes on your Steel Horse Audio motorcycle speaker system. For this particular trip, I chose the ST600 Platinum speakers because the Softail I was riding had  really loud pipes and I wanted to hear over the roar of the wind and the dirty  thunder of those Vance & Hines two-into-one pipes. The ST600 is Steel Horse Audio’s Top End system. Best in class, I haven't found any other handlebar-mounted system that can come close to the volume and clarity of this system, it even rivals some fairing systems. Even without a windshield and with those loud pipes, this system sounds great even at 80 mph.

The ST600 has about 20% more volume output than the ST400 system. It also comes in a two or four speaker version. For Leesburg, I chose two speakers and was more than satisfied. Leaving the downtown area, I cranked up the Steve 
Earle and “Copperhead Road” rocked me down the road to Gator Harley-Davidson. The dealership has played a big part in this rally right from the start. This year, Gator H-D offered up even more vendors, contests and live entertainment, just a short scooter putt away from downtown. Many of the neighboring cities have jumped onto the Bikefest bandwagon and are now organizing smaller versions with their own events and music headliners.

If you made the scene for this year’s Leesburg bash, but didn’t manage to see it all, never fear, there’s always next year. For more information visit www.leesburgbikefest.com

—Dave Nichols