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      Bike Fest faithful recognizing traditional dates

      The noise is growing in Atlantic Beach, but this time not because of politics.

      The town's Bike Fest officially started last Friday, but faithfuls are recognizing the traditional Memorial Day weekend dates.

      In April, town council turned the four day event into an eleven day event.

      But the masses didn't start rolling in until Thursday.

      "It's still looking good. People are who just who they are, just having fun," said Georgia native Samantha Caston. This is her seventh year at the festival.

      Tens of thousands of bikers are expected to turn out for the festival.

      Food vendor Wilson Robinson is banking on his familiarity to clean house.

      "The more you come, the more people recognize you," said Robinson. "If you miss this year and come back next year, these new bikers are not going to recognize you. They're not going to buy the food from you if you weren't here this year."

      While the festival is starting to take shape, so is security around the town.

      North Myrtle Beach, along with Highway Patrol and Horry County police, all plan to pitch in to police the four block area.

      "We spent about $92,000 last year," said North Myrtle Beach Spokesman Pat Dowling. "Basically, that's on handling costs and materials costs for our side of handling the Bike Fest weekend."

      Dowling said his city is pleased to see bikers coming in for the traditional dates. "We think that it's a great thing that it remains on the same schedule that it was in previous years. It allows other events to occur the weekend before Memorial Day, and quite honestly I don't think the event will grow to be a ten day event."