MEREDITH — Laconia Harley-Davidson was planning to roar full speed ahead with live music, food, beer and more during Motorcycle Week, but those plans abruptly changed on Wednesday in another sign of these COVID-19 times.
“After extensive conversations with the Town of Meredith, we made the mutual decision to postpone on-site activity,” Anne Deli, the owner of the business, said in a news release. “We appreciate the understanding of our community as this was not a decision that was made lightly.”
The City of Laconia had already announced that typical event vendors — selling everything from T-shirts to leather jackets to motorcycle parts — would not be present at The Weirs this year in an effort to reduce crowding during the coronavirus pandemic.
Deli said health and safety is the priority. The dealership will remain open during Motorcycle Week, August 22-29. Demo rides will take place “following health and safety protocols in accordance with local, state and federal guidance,” the release said.
Town Manager Phil Warren said “the town recognizes and supports the actions taken by Laconia Harley-Davidson to not invite vendors on their property this year, knowing that the decision to do so was a difficult one and was made with the safety of all in mind.”
There had been local concern about the motorcycle rally.
“Emails have been received from local citizens that have been concerned about the whole event,” Warren said. “If memory serves me I recall 3 or 4 emails that came through our web site and there have been letters to the editor from Meredith residents concerned about the event.”
Jennifer Anderson, deputy director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said the look and feel of this year’s 97th Laconia Motorcycle Week has changed.
“But the sense of community amongst residents, businesses and riders emulates the very pride that is this rally’s true legacy,” she said.
“This year, visitors can look forward to adding even more miles on two-wheels with plenty of gypsy tours and self-guided rides throughout New Hampshire.”