Harley riders come home to local dealer rally
After a busy week with the launch of new Harley-Davidson motorcycles, things will get even busier this weekend in Milwaukee for local Harley dealers and their customers.
The 14th Annual Milwaukee Really, the largest free motorcycle really in the Midwest, will include a weekend of parties, rides and more at five local dealer locations in Milwaukee, New Berlin, Oconomowoc and Thiensville.
Miller Lite sponsors bike night street parties that started Thursday night at the Harley-Davidson Museum featuring Custom Culture Artisan Row, new 2015 Harley motorcycles and two bands – Crazy Rocket Fuel and the Reed Turchi Band. The Harley Museum is also hosting a Women's Ride on Friday leaving there at 10:30 a.m.
The Friday night street party will be at the always fashionable East North Avenue entertainment district near Farwell, North and Prospect avenues with entertainment from Jayk, Cactus Bros, Calliope, Delta Routine and GGOOLLDD.
Water Street appropriately hosts the Saturday night street party, which includes rides coming in from all five Harley dealers along with bands Dirty Boogie, Andrew Gelles and headliner Tuscan Road. Things end on a high note Sunday with a huge custom bike show at the Harley Museum from 10 am. to 4 p.m.
Wisconsin Harley-Davidson in Oconomowoc activities started Thursday with a big bike night, former Packer great Santana Dotson guest bartending during the game, music, food and more. Chasin' Mason will headline the stage on Friday night, Cherry Pie on Saturday and more music during the day on Sunday.
Dianne Crowley of Wisconsin Harley has seen and managed biker events over the years, including this year's Milwaukee Rally. "It's all about creating fun and friendship," she said. "Do I have a great job or what?"
The five-acre Milwaukee Harley-Davidson on 114th and Silver Spring features music from numerous bands all weekend, along with free tattoos, bikini bike washes, body painted models and other contests. Owner Chaz Hastings believes the community has embraced the Rally leading to attendance increases.
"The biggest thing the Milwaukee Rally does for the Milwaukee area is to keep the Harley-Davidson excitement going every year, people have come to expect a big party and it's the biggest party of the year for all of us," said Hastings. "The transformation of the Milwaukee Rally over the last 14 years has been amazing. The experience at each dealer is different, which is enjoyable for everyone."
House of Harley-Davidson closes off Layton Street hear 60th Street and also features several bands all weekend along with a giant sports bar, the Femme Feroce pro dance team and more. Owner John Schaller noted that Rally preparation is hard work, but well worth it.
"The Milwaukee Rally creates great visibility for our dealership, the Milwaukee area community, and Harley-Davidson," Schaller said. "As an annual event, we have seen more participation and riders and non-riders attending from all over the country, and even internationally. This is a big year for the Rally, for the first time the 2015 Harley-Davidson demo rides are being held in Milwaukee, instead of Sturgis, which is exciting for our community and Harley enthusiasts."
New Berlin will be rocking all weekend at Hal's Harley-Davidson with bands, the Ives Brothers Wall of Death, music and a women's ride from the Lake Michigan shore to Holy Hill on Friday. Owner Kirk Topel appreciates the benefits the Rally brings in.
"The Rally has developed into a great event for Milwaukee becoming a fixture in the areas summer festival scene and an annual pilgrimage for thousands who participate in the motorcycle community," Topel said. "We are reminded through our guests who attend from every part of the country and internationally, how great our sport is and how fortunate we are to celebrate that with like minded people. For locals, they're welcomed with open arms to the party."
Suburban Motors in Thiensville also has music, motorcycle rides, a Saturday morning pancake breakfast and more. General Manager Scott Houpt calls the Rally the biggest event of the year.
"The Milwaukee Rally has helped put the Milwaukee area on the map and is a great way to end the summer," Houpt said. "The Rally is a destination for many motorcycle enthusiasts and is a true partnership of five area dealers coming together to stage a Rally every labor day weekend in the Milwaukee area. The Rally has done a lot for our local community, retailers, and our dealership."
So, whether you're a biker or not, you can sure enjoy their company this weekend at the Milwaukee Rally.
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