By C.J. LOVELACE
8:11 PM EDT, July 6, 2012
The loud rumble of motorcycles could be heard around downtown Hagerstown early Friday night, as bikers rolled in for the second annual City Center Bike Night.
Not even two hours into the event, bike parking areas along North Potomac Street near Public Square were full, and South Potomac and West Washington streets were filling up steadily.
Karen Giffin, the city’s community affairs manager, said she anticipated anywhere from 700 to 1,000 bikes for the event, which ran in conjunction with the Maryland Theatre’s weekly Wind Down Friday program.
“It’s just so exciting to see the motorcycles, but also the people walking around and having fun in Hagerstown,” she said. “With fireworks on Wednesday and then this, and our bike race in the North End, just more to do in Hagerstown and we’re so proud of it.”
This year’s Bike Night featured 20 vendors offering everything from Harley Davidson T-shirts and apparel, to food and cold drinks, Giffin said. Several downtown businesses also ran specials during the event, she said.
The Maryland Theatre showcased a pair of local bands — Prophets of the Abstract Truth and Stack ‘O Blues — from 6 to 10 p.m., as well as classic biker-themed films “The Wild One” and “Easy Rider” in the air conditioning inside.
“I heard that there are 300,000 bikers in town for Hagerstown Bike Week,” said Jessica Green, operations manager for the Maryland Theatre. “And we became a part of bike week to bring it downtown and help support the downtown community, and show locals that the downtown is still alive and the Maryland Theatre is part of that.”
Bikes of all shapes, sizes and colors lined the streets, and many people took some time after arriving just to walk around and take a look.
Wayne Cooper of Hagerstown was checking out some bikes parked on North Potomac Street. He said it was the first time he came out for the downtown Bike Night, but planned to leave shortly after to take his daughter for a ride Friday evening.
“I just wanted to come down and see how many showed up,” he said. “It’s kind of interesting to see (all the bikes) out on the highways and all.”
The sun was starting to set as Terry Younker and his nephew, Don, both of Hagerstown, rode in on their Harleys.
“I think it’s awesome,” Terry Younker said. “I think it’s always great to have bikes and people down here supporting local businesses. I think it’s a good thing.”
Temperatures hovered in the mid- to high-90s the last few days in the Hagerstown area, but Don Younker said that wouldn’t be a deterrent to people coming downtown for the event.
“As the sun starts to go down, it’s really going to liven up, and people are going to come out and check it out just to see what’s going on,” he said.
Giffin felt the same way.
“Heat is always a factor ... but I think as it cools down in the evening, you’ll see more and more bikes come in,” she said.
Bob Lindsey of Martinsburg was sitting by his bike with his 11-year-old daughter, Aurora, who made the trip up with him for the evening. Lindsey said he attended the David Allan Coe show at Cancun Cantina on Dual Highway during Thursday night’s Bike Week kickoff festivities.
“It’s a good place to get away without having to go too far,” he said.
There weren’t too many people filling up the seats in front of the band area at the Maryland Theatre yet by around 7 p.m., but that didn’t stop the guys in Prophets of the Abstract Truth from performing a spirited cover of Latin jazz hit “Oye Como Va,” popularized by Santana in 1970.
“We just try to create a very relaxed, Wind Down Friday atmosphere, where they can come out and beat the heat a little bit, with good food, friends, drinks and live music,” Green said.
Along with the city, Friday’s event was sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Harley Davidson of Williamsport and M&S Harley Davidson of Chambersburg, Pa., Green said.
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