LACONIA — Businesses along a section of Lakeside Avenue are planning “Laconia Biketemberfest” the weekend of Sept. 14, including an unusual setup where people will be able to stroll along the sidewalk with an alcoholic beverage in hand.
One of the organizers, Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Motorcycle Week Association, said such events typically have a small designated area set up for people wishing to drink. Biketemberfest, on the other hand, will allow drinking along the entire footprint of the festival.
“This has never been done before in the state,” he said. “This is a precedent-setting moment in the state of New Hampshire.”
Representatives of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission backed the idea in a meeting at City Hall on Monday.
“The idea is to extend the summer season for local businesses,” St. Clair said. “It will be a chance for visitors to come back to the area and experience the Lakes Region, staying at motels, going other places.”
The event will take place along Lakeside Avenue between Tower Street and Foster Avenue, an area that takes in Tower Hill Tavern, Paradise Beach Club, Surfside Burger Bar and the Crazy Gringo.
Am outdoor stage will be set up for live music. There will be no outside vendors and no cost of admission. People will have to be 21 years old to get in to the event.
“It’s geared toward the motorcycle crowd, but we also expect to have a lot of non-motorcyclists,” St. Clair said. “You’ll be able to walk out of an establishment carrying a beer onto the city sidewalk, to drink and kibitz.”
The cups will be color-coded. Patrons are not supposed to bring a drink from one establishment into another.
Bret Loring, who owns the Paradise Beach Club along with his wife, Krista, said Biketemberfest, which will run from 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, through 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, should be good for business.
“Revenue falls right off after Labor Day and there’s really not a lot going on September through October, so we struggle up here to try to make ends meet through those months,” he said. “This will be a huge boost for us.”
The fact that there will be no outside vendors, means the revenue will stay local, he said.
“This is a first for the state. I’m hoping that it will work well so it can be continued and maybe it can be brought to other places. I’m hoping people will be cool and go about their business, maybe with a beverage in their hand.”