Thursday, July 29, 2010
Bike rally debuts
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs Main Street Association became more visible Thursday as about 50 bikers came to North Center Street to participate in the first promotion of the association, Hidden Treasures.
The hidden treasure is the Blues Trail and marker located at the corner of North Center Street and College Avenue. Aikei Pro’s record shop owned by David Caldwell is known internationally as an off-beat destination for blues music fans.
About 50 bikers participated in the evening of fun, according to Andy McMillon, a member of the promotions committee. Approximately half were from out of town, coming from places like New Albany, Tunica, Batesville, Bartlett, Tenn., and Rossville, Tenn., and from biker clubs in Tunica and Memphis, Tenn.
The rally begins at 6:30 every Thursday night through the month of September.
McMillon said bikers asked for music and Rust College provided speakers and Wayne Fiddis provided music from WURC FM radio for the first two hours. A surprise visit by bluesmen Duwayne Burnside and David Kimbrough Jr. topped off the evening. The two musicians are proud bluesmen and descendants of historic hill country blues musicians in the Holly Springs area.
“Burnside and Kimbrough surprised everyone,” he said.
Some local bikers joining the rally were Dennis Ethridge, Robert Ackerman, David Beckley, Donald Street, Dura “Spooky” Moss, Rodney Owens, Sherman Greer and Russell Johnson, McMillon said.
Security for the event was excellent, he said, with on-foot patrolman Joy Cox and chief Robert Pearson handling traffic, he said. The Holly Springs Fire Department set up traffic barricades and traffic flow was good.
Others joining the rally from the sidelines included Holly Springs aldermen Johnny Bagley and Harvey Payne, Judy Smith, Fannie Lampley and Charles Terry with Main Street, Pat Boga, Mayor Andre’ DeBerry and Lisa Liddy.
Participation exceeded expectations.
“I didn’t expect that many motorcycles,” McMillon said. “I was tickled to death when they started coming in.”
Bikers asked why the rally was held at North Center Street and learned it is the historic district for blues music in Holly Springs.
Bikers felt safe and one Bartlett biker said he felt it was safe enough for bikers to bring their wives or girlfriends with them next time, McMillon said.
For many of the out-of-towners, it was a first visit to Holly Springs.
“It was good that this brought people just to see the town,” he said. ‘We are asking local musicians to return to play more.”
The promotions committee will try to vary the music as the weeks pass, adding gospel and country.
“We want to mix it up,” McMillon said. “We will move the music toward the city square to not interfere with the church and funeral home.”
No complaints were made about noise. No alcohol/no public drinking is allowed at the rally. The area is policed by law enforcement and by program committee members who report any problems to police.
Suzann Williams, with the Tourism Bureau, said the rally was a great success. She was impressed by the women bikers, three of whom rode in from the Mississippi Delta, she said.
“It was great,” Williams said.
Main Street executive director Judy Smith said she is getting lots of feedback about the rally and that people want it bigger in terms of activities.
“Our primary purpose was to promote downtown and our emphasis was Hidden Treasures with bikers as an activity,” Smith said. “We wanted to emphasize restaurants and Annie’s, JB’s and Copper Kettle agreed to stay open Thursday nights through September.”
Several other events are planned for the fall to promote downtown, including a Halloween family event on the square, a holiday open house and other activities.
Smith said volunteers and ideas are needed and invites anyone in the community who would like to serve on the promotion committee to come to meetings the first Monday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Beckley Center on Rust Avenue.
In addition to ideas and event planning, Main Street needs worker bees, individuals who help out with activities but who may not want to serve on a committee. To inquire further about Main Street, call 551-8396.
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