It’s about 4 p.m. Friday and 300 to 400 people have already showed up at a house party along Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach.
There are motorcycles parked in every space available under the bottom of the condos. And yet, motorcycles continue to pull up to the party, only to be directed away to park along nearby side streets and along the roadway.
The party is being hosted by the motorcycle group Tru Ikonz, which has chapters all over the country, including Myrtle Beach.
The group rents the condos every year for the Atlantic Beach Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival.
The festival, also known as “Black Bike Week,” happens through Sunday and normally brings thousands of people to the Myrtle Beach area. Last year was the first year back for the Bike Fest after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus.
Tru Ikonz’s party was one of the few places where the rain and 61 degree weather didn’t put a damper on the first night of Bike Fest.
“We’re not going to stop,” club member Marcus Colbert of Augusta, Georgia, said of the weather.
As the music by a DJ boomed, people mingled and danced. There were a lot of hugs and wide smiles as people greeted each other.
Colbert said he loves to come to the Bike Week each year because it allows members to intermingle and they get to see people they have never met before.
“Weather has nothing to do with it,” said Steve Jones, one of the founders of Tru Ikonz, whose home base is in Augusta.
But the weather did have a lot to do with keeping bikers off the main roadways and at Atlantic Beach, where the annual festival takes place.
Rain doesn’t stop dancing, checking out vendors
At Atlantic Beach, vendors and food trucks lined the street leading down to the oceanfront, and people made their way along the road checking out the offerings.
Sheledia Cade is singing Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” with other members of the social group Soul Survivaz as she waits for her food order. The New Jersey resident said she comes to Bike Fest “almost every year.”
Near the large stage that sits oceanfront along Atlantic Beach’s main drag, a DJ plays music. Nicole McReynolds of South Carolina and Nonie Jones and Francis Smith, both of Chicago, are holding their umbrellas, dancing in the rain.
McReynolds drove 17 hours to Chicago to pick up her friends so they could be at Bike Week.
“It was all worth it,” she said of the long drive.
Local motorcycle group celebrates founding of Bike Week
Aaron Cox and several other members of the Carolina Knight Riders have set up camp in the parking lot of their clubhouse in Longs.
It’s the motorcycle group’s home away from home and a place that Cox said fellow motorcyclists should visit if they are attending this weekend’s Bike Fest.
The festival was started in 1980 by the Carolina Knight Riders.
Several members and those from other motorcycle clubs gathered Friday at the clubhouse, shooting pool and having drinks. Cox steps outside to check on food that is being smoked in smokers out back for a party set later that evening.
Cox’s relationship with the motorcycle club has been a lot longer than his 13-year membership. His oldest siblings were in the club from the the beginning and his oldest brother was one of the first members.
“I grew up in the area,” the now North Carolina resident said. “I attended events and stuff like that.”
Some of those events included a meet and greet at the Clubhouse Friday night, as well as free concerts all weekend in Atlantic Beach. The clubhouse will also have an anniversary party Saturday night.
Rainy weather expected to continue this weekend
The festival continues Saturday and Sunday. However, the wet and windy weather is expected to continue on Saturday.
The National Weather Service said a there will be significant marine, wind and rain that will impact Memorial Day weekend in the Myrtle Beach area. Wind gusts could be up to 45 mph, and gale force winds are expected.