I had heard about it, I had seen pictures of it, but you really have to attend the event to really understand the draw to Port Dover Ontario on a Friday the 13th. For those that may not be from the area or know about the event, the small lakeside town of Port Dover Ontario closes their streets to everything but motorcycles on every Friday the 13th each year. Some years there are many and other years only one. Having one in hot weather is also a treat. I don’t have a motorcycle but as a former trucker I can appreciate cool machines and have always wanted to attend the event, but being on a Friday makes attending more of a challenge. This particular event was great because it is in June, the weather was fairly nice and I was hired by a client to be there and draw caricatures at their booth. Being paid to attend an event is always a plus. To many of us that have never attended the events we assume 100,000 bikers in one place would cause a little disruption but I have to admit I was surprised and found it the opposite.
This event is truly a people watchers delight. People wander up and down every street of the town and look and talk motorcycles. Some are friends that attend every year, some are known clubs that arrive to party with members, and others are interested enthusiasts that just enjoy the bikes. You can buy all kinds of merchandise from black Harley t-shirts to black Harley t-shirts. Everyone gets into the event and some take it to new levels, like dressing their dogs up like club members, girls in bikinis with leather chaps, and then how can we forget the local legend, a 73 year old guy walking around in a red thong. No I did not get a picture of him and yes he does that every year no matter what the weather. Music is played throughout the streets from various bands and venues and the streets are lined with bikes. I found everyone to be extremely friendly and the town and businesses did an excellent job. There were very few line ups at confession stands, bathrooms were kept very clean with no lines, and shuttle services with parking controls were all very well organized and kept up. Watching the bikes roll into town and all the people watching is really the draw to the event. Pulling up a chair at the side of the road and watching things take place would last a day with no problems. The Police were highly visible and it was good to see everyone getting along and talking together. Even Police officers that I happen to speak with were in a good mood and there to keep the peace and not harass those there for a good time. The event is known as one of the more peaceful bike rally’s around North America.
I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in attending the event to do so, however you may have a wait ahead of you. Apparently there won’t be a Friday the 13th in the summer months for the next three years. The next one is in February of 2015. Either way it is an event to be remembered and one that I look forward to attending in the future, paid or not.
About the Artist,
Bruce Outridge is an illustrator and cartoonist specializing in caricature art for live events and studio work. More information can be found on his website at www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com