BENNINGTON >> The annual Bennington Bike Night will return for a third year this Saturday.
Hundreds of motorcycles, a "poker run" and a new location are highlights of this year's event, Bennington International Motorcycle Club members say.
The bike night takes place on Saturday, July 9 from 4 to 8 p.m. This year, the event is in the parking lot behind the Bennington Station Restaurant, at 150 Depot St.
Ernie Thompson, president for the BIMC, said he and the membership are eager to grow the event's size and are excited to see attendees' motorcycles. Organizers last year counted at least 450 bikes, he said.
"It's just a really fun time," Thompson said on Thursday. "All bikes are welcome. The reason why we're an 'international' club is because we like to see everything, not just a Harley, but BMW, Honda, Suzuki, and Ducati."
Organizers previously held the event on School Street for two years.
"We would've liked to keep it on School Street. It's a great location, but a lot of work," Thompson said. Multiple people had to sign off for that location, he explained. The new location provides more space and was less complicated to plan.
Motorcycle enthusiasts will show off their bikes and talk to other riders. The event is free and open to the public, who are encouraged to turn out to learn more about the bikes.
"It's really close-knit like the classic car community," Thompson said. "People will ask what kind of engine you use, what kind of parts."
Between 20 and 30 vendors will offer parts and motorcycle-related items, leather goods and jewelry. Food deals will be available at Bennington Station. And the Bennington Fire Department will be barbecuing at their River Street station. A blessing of the bikes by George Mason will be no later than 7 p.m. A 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction is planned for the event. Proceeds will benefit the Cancer Crusaders. Attendees will vote one bike to rule them all in a best of show contest. Two photographers will be at the event. And "Moose Bell" will provide music.
The Ride-in and Poker Run is slated for the next day, Sunday, July 10. Registration begins at 9 a.m.; the ride starts at 10 a.m. The ride will start at Bennington Station, and end at D's Market and Deli, East Road, with a barbecue.
News has spread through word of mouth, Thompson said. Clubs from Pownal, Rutland, Brattleboro, and Adams, Mass. are expected to attend.
Past events have drawn a fair amount of locals and people from out of the area, according to Andy "Smitty" Smith, vice president for the club.
"It's been a good bunch of people," Smith said.
"We were really impressed by how many people came out for the first year," said Linda Dickinson, a club member who maintains the website. "Hopefully on Saturday, we'll have a full crowd again."
Sponsors include Bennington Station, Bennington Muffler & Auto Center, i3 Imaging Group, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce and the Better Bennington Corporation.
For more information, visit www.bimcvt.org or the BIMCTV Facebook page: www.facebook.com/bimcvt.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979