NEW PORT RICHEY — If you haven't heard the roar, you will. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far will be sweeping in Friday through Sunday for the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce's annual Cotee River Bike Fest in downtown New Port Richey.
"This is the 12th annual, and the event is growing every year," said Chip Wichmanowski, president of the West Pasco Chamber. "If the weather cooperates, we expect to have 35,000 to 40,000 in attendance."
The festival, sponsored primarily by the Fran Haasch Law Group, Harley-Davidson of New Port Richey, Suncoast Credit Union and Team Farrell, is gaining some prominence on the bike festival circuit, Wichmanowski said.
"We're in the mix of motorcycle events in Florida," he said, adding that after things wrap up in New Port Richey, some participants will head to Daytona Beach for Biketober Fest (Oct. 13 to 16), then to the Thunder Beach autumn rally (Oct. 19 to 23) in Panama City.
The Cotee River entertainment lineup should provide an ample draw for many, Wichmanowski said. Bands will perform on two stages — Grand Boulevard and the main stage in Sims Park. Highlights will include Jack Russell's Great White Band on Saturday night. Add to that a few standard tribute bands and some popular bay-area talent, including Pitbull Toddler performing on the Grand Boulevard stage on Friday night, and the Black Honkeys closing out the fest in Sunday afternoon in Sims Park.
Also on the agenda: the Full Throttle Bike Show, stunt shows, professional wrestling, a bikini contest, food trucks and the annual Fire and Iron Poker Run on Saturday, benefiting the Children's Burn Camp.
As usual, the downtown area will be cordoned off for motorcycle riders only, and local drinking and eating establishments will be laying out the welcome mat.
"It's just going to be a great weekend in downtown New Port Richey," Wichmanowski said. "It's going to be a fabulous event."
Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] Follow @MicheleMiller52.