While I can admit to having my fair share of fun during Daytona Beach Bike Week events growing up, I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be a family friendly event. With that being said, I would recommend the annual Daytona Beach Bike Week Parade. This event fizzled out a few years ago, but made a reappearance in 2012.
I remember going to this parade as a kid and loved the noise, action and the motorcycles! The parade route starts at the Ocean Center and proceeds down A1A. It ends at Daytona International Speedway. This parade is almost 6 miles long! You can setup just about anywhere along the parade route, just find a nice place to park and watch Bike Week ride by you!
Per the Official Daytona Beach Bike Week Parade Press Release:
January 24, 2013
The Daytona Beach Bike Week 2013 Appreciation Parade is Back! Presented by Harley-Davidson Motor Company. In the second year of its resurgence, the much loved Community Appreciation Parade will be held on Saturday, March 16th. The second Saturday of Bike Week! This has been an iconic event for several decades. The Daytona Beach Bike Week Parade was absent for a few years before re-emerging in 2012. Last year kicked off a rebirth of the event that was very well received by visitors and residents.
Bike Week Festival Task Force Parade Chairman Phil Maroney spoke of the event’s second year revival. “The parade is an ideal way for our business community to say thank you to our visitors. And for us to say thank you to our community for hosting the event. Many thanks also go to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company for again stepping up to the plate as Presenting Sponsor of the parade. It’s a fitting role for Harley, as they were there since the event’s inception. We certainly appreciate their continued support.” All participants interested in riding motorcycles in the parade should congregate at the Ocean Center south parking lot on Saturday, March 16th beginning at 7AM. This is where staging for the parade will occur. At 9 AM the Parade will leave the Ocean Center with an escort of the Daytona Beach Police Department Motorcycle Unit.
The parade procession will arrive at the Daytona International Speedway – a parade nearly 5.25 miles long! Along the route, community businesses and residents will demonstrate their pride and appreciation for hosting the World’s Largest Motorcycle Event®. At the Daytona International Speedway, the riders will be greeted by an event that includes hundreds of vendors and exciting entertainment.
Daytona Beach Bike Week Parade Details:
Route: Start Ocean Center – End Daytona insternational Speedway
9am till End
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UPDATE: The 2013 Annual Daytona Beach Bike Week Parade Was A Bust!
I generally try to stay fairly positive with my posts, but I wanted to report that the 2013 Bike Week Parade was certainly NOT what I remembered from when I was a kid! This year my sister, niece and I packed up into the car and headed out to the main drag in Daytona expecting a long parade of roaring motorcycles, the smell of hot gasoline, and a pounding headache when it was all over. Sounds like fun to me right?
Unfortunately we experienced none of this, and honestly wasn’t worth the gas to drive to the location. The parade was literally about a minute and a half long. In fact if you blinked or ran to the bathroom you would have missed it! We had just settled into lawn chairs after getting a quick breakfast, and were excited to see motorcycle cops ushering in the beginning of what we thought would be a blast.
While I appreciate the three dozen or so bikers that took time out of their day to join up, there just wasn’t a great turnout. We waited around another half hour or so just to make sure we didn’t miss something, but we honestly saw more bikes just cruising down International Speedway Blvd before and after the official parade! Unless there is serious promotion of this next year, I just don’t see this being a continual event.
In years past the parade was actually on Sunday instead of Saturday, so the change of day probably didn’t help out. As a kid, I remember part of the parade was symbolic. This reminds me of old western movies with the hero riding off out of town and into the sunset. It was the same concept except on iron horses! If you really want to see a ton of bikes next year, you may just want to brave a trip down Main Street you would probably get more out of it, just be prepared to answer a few questions after the fact if you bring along your young ones.