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Old 03-19-2008, 04:02 AM
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cmyr cmyr is offline
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Harley Fest in Waukesha, WI

Waukesha approves possible Harley fest
Music event could attract thousands

Posted: March 18, 2008

Waukesha - Get your motor running.

The Common Council will allow a huge downtown Labor Day event to coincide with the 105th Harley-Davidson Anniversary Celebration.

Aldermen on Tuesday gave Mayor Larry Nelson and his staff authority to work out a contract with event organizers that irons out details of a free music event that could attract 100,000 or more motorcycle enthusiasts between Aug. 28 and 31.

It also approved a beer license for the event.

Some of the issues that have to be addressed include street closures where beer can be carried, cleanup, security, portable toilets, and reimbursements for damage to public and private property.

Ald. Rick Tortomasi asked that the council be regularly updated about details of the event so the public can be informed.

Many of the riders are expected to drive between the two Harley-Davidson dealerships in Waukesha County, stopping in Waukesha, which is situated midway.

Kirk Topel, owner of Hal's Harley-Davidson in New Berlin and Wisconsin Harley-Davidson in Oconomowoc, is a sponsor of the event and would seek sponsorship from the motorcycle company.

If the corporation embraces the Waukesha festival, it would provide valuable publicity and enhance the validity of the event, he said.

If Harley corporate does not become part of the event, it would still go forward, Topel said.

Downtown resident and motorcycle rider Bea Popple voiced her support for the event.

"I know it's going to be crazy, but I'm sure it's going to be fun and a chance to show off our downtown," she said.

One speaker asked the council "to slow down the process."

Attorney Jennifer Walls, who with her husband owns the historic Nelson House, said she would lose four days of business because it would not have access to parking.

The Nelson House shares a parking lot with Cutler Park, the site where concerts would be staged for the event.

Other business owners have expressed concerns about parking not being available for customers and staff.

"Don't jump on the bandwagon just because it sounds fun," she said.

Her message did not slow down the kudos.

Kerry Mackay, an owner of The Steaming Cup coffee shop and restaurant, 341 W. Main St., said that as a longtime employee of Harley-Davidson Corp. and local businessman, he supports the event.

"Yes, it is a motley crew, but it's a good one," he said with his tongue firmly planted inside his cheek.

Attendees would be allowed to carry cups of beer inside a restricted downtown area that would be open to only motorcycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

An initial "footprint" of closed streets is defined by Cutler Park and Riverfront Plaza, where vendor tents would be located.

Steve Meulemans, an event organizer, has said the event would be the largest Harley-related festival outside Milwaukee County.

Corporate Harley-Davidson is not yet affiliated with the Waukesha effort.

Meulemans said organizers would oversee cleanup, make repairs and pay overtime to city employees.
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