by Kathleen Pulek
Click HERE for the full gallery of images from this event
Presented by Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines and the Hunter Family, the 8th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania was touted as the largest one-day summer bike event in New England.
It more than lived up to its billing. An overflow crowd from throughout Connecticut and beyond jammed downtown Middletown on a picture-perfect Wednesday evening, August 14th. They came for the classic and custom bikes, to meet up with old friends or make new ones, to visit favorite restaurants or try somewhere new and for the music that ranged from country to rock and roll. They came and they came and they came, totaling over 11,000 people and more than 6,000 bikes according to event coordinator Cathy Duncan of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.
Zachary Hoffman arrived on a 1996 Honda Shadow. “This is my first time at Motorcycle Mania. What a tremendous turnout,” the Meriden, CT resident said. “This is terrific. I was in Sturgis in 2010 and this feels a lot like being there.”
Duncan noted, “All parking efforts ended around 7:30 PM because all spaces were filled. We also parked bikes at the Mattabesset Canoe Club and Harbor Park. The tunnel that goes under Route 9 has been refurbished, so people were able to park by the river and walk through to Melilli Plaza and up to Main Street.”
Bike enthusiasts and Harley Davidson owners Dave Conant and his son Mike shared an evening out. “This is my third time here,” said Dave, who lives in Middletown. “And my first time,” Mike added. “My dad had been telling me about Motorcycle Mania and it sounded so good I wanted to go. I came from North Haven so we could spend some time checking out all the bikes.” Dave brought his 2005 Harley Davidson Dyna Low Rider while Mike rode his 2012 HD Street Glide.
Liberty Bank and Charles Computer Services were two of the event’s 13 supporting sponsors.
“We’re a Middletown-based company with five branches and three corporate buildings here,” said Patricia Jatkevicius, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Liberty Bank “We like to participate in anything that’s going to promote the downtown area and the vitality and the strength of downtown Middletown. We also have a lot of employees who are bikers and who participate in Motorcycle Mania.”
According to Foster Charles, owner of Charles Computer Services on Washington Street, “Events like Motorcycle Mania and Cruising on Main bring in people from all different towns who have never been to Main Street. I grew up in Middletown and I still live here. I’m in love with Main Street and I want people to understand what’s so great about Middletown. Other towns looking to revitalize their Main Streets use Middletown as a template.”
Farmington’s Karen Stanford, a member of Free Spirit Lady Harley Riders, has previously attended Motorcycle Mania on her Harley Davidson Soft Tail Deluxe. This year her bike was left home and Stanford and the members of the CT Calendar Girlz, of which she is founder and photographer, were on hand to sell and autograph their calendar with proceeds benefiting Hartford’s Interval House, which provides emergency services and shelter for abused women and children.
“Middletown Motorcycle Mania is an opportunity for the city to showcase its many fine restaurants and retail shops in the downtown district,” Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh said. “It’s a fantastic time for everyone involved. I would like to thank all of our sponsors for their terrific support along with event chairman Rich Greco and his committee for all of their hard work and dedication to this major downtown event, which benefits Middletown youth programs.”