Responding to complaint that Bike Week is starting late this year, council will allow properly permitted beer tents to open 2 days early

LACONIA — A quirk of the calendar has prompted the City Council to invite the operators of so-called beer tents at Motorcycle Week to apply for special event permits, which will allow them to serve during the two days before the opening of the rally on Saturday, June 14.

Each and every year, Motorcycle Week begins on the second full weekend in June, which most often means that it ends on the third Sunday of June — Father's Day. However, in those years like this one, when June begins on a Sunday, the rally begins rather than ends on Father's Day weekend.

Since many vendors and bikers associate the last day of the rally with Father's Day, confusion arises when the two fail to coincide.

Recently Bill "The Boss" Niland, who owns and operates the Chop Shop Pub in Seabrook and the Beer Garden at the Weirs Beach Drive-In during the rally, wrote to city officials, calling attention to "a serious issue" with the rally. "It has been clear to me that the 'Regular Joe Biker' has no idea that the Laconia Bike Week dates have been changed for this years 91st annual," he wrote. He recalled when the rally last began on Father's Day weekend, in 2008, rally-goers booked rooms for the wrong week and, he claimed, have not returned. "Should this happen again this year," he warned, ""I am in fear that it would be another nail in the coffin to an already declining event."

Niland suggested opening his beer garden, with entertainment, on Thursday and Friday, before the rally begins on Saturday, June 14. "This would at least those who on the wrong week a small taste of Bike Week events so that their vacation not be a total loss," he explained.

Planning Director Shanna Saunders, who chairs the Motorcycle Technical Review Committee/Special Events Review Committee, told the council that the committee approved Niland's request and recommended allowing the operators of beer tents at the Lobster Pound, Looney Bin, Broken Spoke and Marketplace to apply for special events permits to open on Thursday, June 12 and Friday 13. After some discussion, the council agreed and at the same allowed gypsy vendors, who purchase a permit to open on Friday, to operate on Thursday as well at no extra cost.