Atlantic Beach Bike Fest extension #fail

Atlantic Beach bike fest officially began Friday, but no one showed up.

Friday marked the official start of the Atlantic Beach Bike Fest, but it doesn't look that way. Last month, town officials extended the event to include this weekend, as well as Memorial Day weekend.

In Atlantic Beach, it looks like business as usual. No crowd of bikers is around Town Hall, on its streets, or at the Community Center. Typically, some homeowners and a church allow festival-goers to park on their property, but there's no one to direct into a space. In fact the only sign of a festival in Atlantic Beach is a t-shirt stand and the roar of Harleys as they ride by.

"We're not totally surprised because we backed it up in case somebody wanted to have a choice of starting early, but really we anticipated that the bulk of our vendors would come in next week," explains Atlantic Beach Mayor Retha Pierce.

Councilman Jake Evans isn't surprised either that there are no tourists spending time in the town.

For more than 30 years the event has only lasted four days, and since no one is taking advantage of the extension, NewsChannel 15 asked Mayor Pierce if the move was pointless.

"It's not pointless to try any initiative that you want to try. It's never pointless. It might not be what is customary or what one is used to having done or what one would like to see done," says Pierce.

She goes on to say they didn't go the traditional route to let people know about the changes. "We have several vendors who have applied and who are expected to come, and we have some that will be coming in on Monday."

As for next year there may or may not be an extended Bike Fest.

Pierce says once it's over, "We will analyze the situation. We will analyze the status of what has been done, and if it promises to be a positive and most beneficial move, then naturally we'll make the decisions based on that."

Ultimately it all depends on who's going to be in power, which changes quite often in Atlantic Beach.