Laconia Motorcycle Week Revs Up N.H. Tourism Season

Jun 10, 2018

Motorcycles are everywhere over the next week in New Hampshire. So, too, are business and non-profit vendors. (NHPR 2017 file photo)
Credit Casey McDermott / NHPR
 

The 95th Laconia Motorcycle Week kicks off this weekend, marking the start of the Lakes Region summer tourism season.

 

The festival draws in visitors from across the country, and is a revenue boost for restaurants, bars and hotels in the area. 

 

But some folks who've been working Bike Week for years, like Steve Penlin at the Broken Spoke Saloon on Weirs Beach, say they've noticed a demographic shift in the biker community.  

 

"We're getting old," he says. "I know it's a big concern for Harley-Davidson, in the past they've voiced that and they're trying, you know, their younger programs to get that young generation involved but, yeah, it is a concern."

 

Without a new generation of participants, he says future Bike Weeks might not bring the same economic boost to the Lakes Region. 

 

The festival runs through next weekend, with bike shows, stunt demos, and charity rides. 

 

David McGrath, general manager at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, says he and his team have been at work for months planning events to anchor the rally. He says the local hospitality industry can expect a revenue boost, too. 

 

"The motels are filled, the restaurants are filled," he says. "You can't get a cup of coffee, it's so busy."

 

Governor Chris Sununu and state tourism officials welcomed riders at the opening ceremony Thursday. The annual event marks the unofficial kickoff of the summer tourism season in the Lakes Region.