Harlon Wood of Centreville, a chief instructor with Safety Services Nova Scotia Motorcycle Training and a long-time motorcycle enthusiast, said he and wife Cheryl attend the annual Daytona Bike Week.
He started mulling over the idea of holding a motorcycle event in the Kentville area about a year ago; something he figured would give the town a boost. He said he mentioned it to new Mayor Sandra Snow in November. Wood said she’s been very supportive of the idea.
“Ever since then it’s been great,” Wood said. “From the downtown businesses to the response we’ve been getting through emails, it’s just wonderful.”
Wood said they’ve already received confirmation from 15 vendors that they’ll be attending the event, coming up June 17 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Kentville. The initial response to a Facebook page set up for the event has been strong.
Wood is hoping for a big turnout to make the first annual Devil’s Half Acre event a success but recognizes that the weather will play a role. There is a show and shine and a custom bike show planned as part of the activities.
Wood is hopeful that what starts in 2017 as a one-day event will perhaps grow to two days next year and beyond in the future.
He said he would like to see Centre Square; Cornwallis, Main and Webster streets, Webster Court, Chester Avenue and the parking lot behind Kentville town hall all designated for bike parking only for the event. His vision is to see the entire downtown filled with bikes. Wood hopes to recruit volunteers from Valley Search and Rescue to help with traffic control.
Wood said it would mean a lot to motorcycle enthusiasts to have an event such as this in Kentville. He hopes businesses in the downtown and surrounding communities will benefit from the influx of people “buying food, buying gas and just making our town busy. That’s what it’s all about.”
He said they’re having Auto Trim apply a wrap over an enclosed trailer that they’re soon going to start hauling around to promote the event. There are also plans to hang a large banner on a building in downtown Kentville.
Wood said he became interested in motorbikes when he was a kid, especially dirt bikes, but never had the opportunity to have his own street bikes until recent years. Wood rides a Harley Davidson and a 1968 BSA, a British bike he built last winter.
However, he doesn’t really care what kind of bike he’s sitting on. He just enjoys getting out with friends and enjoying the freedom of the open road. He finds it fun, relaxing and there’s lots of great scenery in the Valley to enjoy.
A lot of people find the activity therapeutic. Wood said the largest growing demographic of motorcyclists is women and there are a lot of retirees getting into it.