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A biker’s paradise for three days in downtown Leesburg

The Ninth Annual Leesburg Bikefest is hosted in downtown Leesburg, Fla., from Friday, April 22 to Sunday, April 24. For more information, call (352) 365-0053 or log on to the Web site at www.leesburgbikefest.com.

The Ninth Annual Leesburg Bikefest makes a roaring return April 22-24 to downtown Leesburg.

The festival is a social event for bikers and a chance for the public to see an array of custom motorcycles lining the historic downtown. Bikefest 2004 was a record-setting event as more than 125,000 people attended.

The annual event features live entertainment, food, beverages and more than 250 vendors selling motorcycle gear and accessories. Among the Bikefest favorites are “biker games” sponsored by Harley Owners Groups (HOGs) and Rat’s Hole Custom Motorcycle Show.

Leesburg Bikefest

The Ms. Bikefest Contest at 8 p.m. Friday on Gator Harley-Davidson Stage in Towne Square is also a big draw, as contestants sponsored by local businesses compete in categories of swimwear, bike wear and bike poses for the title and a cash prize.

During Bikefest, enjoy non-stop entertainment on three stages with more than 20 free concerts including blues, rock ’n’ roll and alternative rock and county. Headlining the group of veteran rockers is Starship, performing at 9 p.m. Saturday. The band features lead singer Mickey Thomas, whose voice propelled Starship through the 1980s.

Admission is free to the annual event chocked full of entertainment. The music lineup starts Friday with D’Manufacture, Dirrty Hairry, Big Engine and local favorite Bobby Blackmon. Performances continue through the weekend with Diablo Canyon, Kid Ridlyn, Justin Heet, Les Dudek and others to be announced.

Leesburg Bikefest

Special motorcycle performances are planned for the entire weekend of Bikefest, including the Fort Lauderdale, Daytona and Clermont Harley-Davidson Drill Teams, Extreme Trials Motorcycling rider Adam Holbrook and the Ives Brothers will brave the 16-foot “Globe of Death.”

Jerry "Motorman" Palladino will return to Bikefest by popular demand. Palladino is producer of the “Ride Like a Pro” video series, the best-selling motorcycle instructional videos in North America and Europe. He entertains and demonstrates skills like police motor officer techniques that have made him and his videos famous at events around the country.

On Saturday and Sunday, Biker games will be under the direction of Lake County and Clermont HOG chapters, with contests like Hot Dog Bite, Bean Bag Toss and Slow Ride. Competitors in the Rat's Hole Custom Motorcycle Show are judged in 18 classes including three-wheeler, street racer, antique/classics and most unusual.

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