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In Brief: No More Harley Fests in Northville Township

Citing a disagreement over local charitable involvement, the township manager announced pull-out from Harley Fest.

Northville Township has opted not to host Harley Fest beginning next year.

The event drew thousands of bikes and motorcycle enthusiasts to the township and benefitted several charitable organizations such as the the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA,) to whom this year's proceeds went.

Harley Fest, which was sponsored by Greater Media and took place during Father’s Day weekend, was held at Northville Community Park at Beck and Five Mile roads. The festival was highly-anticipated by several residents, but township manager Chip Snider said that a change that the sponsor made at the last minute significantly reduced fundraising opportunities for local non-profits.

“They made a last minute decision to have their own charities [working at the festival],” he said.

“The groups made a lot of money – they made like $6,000 – in one day at the Harley Fest, so no one’s saying it wasn’t a good event,” said Snider. “The group has made more money in one day than during the entire Victorian Festival.”

Though Harley Fest has always supported large charities like the MDA, which took an active role in the event itself, smaller local charities had been able to raise funds for their own activites during the event.

The scope of the smaller groups' involvement in the event is unclear, but Snider said when those opportunties disappeared, so did the benefit for Nothville Township and its residents.

“I had a hard time seeing how the event was a benefit to our community without the local groups,” he said.

Volunteers would generate funds for their own programming by parking cars and performing other tasks, Snider said. The event took place in in the township in 2010 and 2011, but has been held for 13 years.

According to the Greater Media web site, the festival has generated more than $350,000 for various charities since its inception.  

Karen Schweim July 24, 2011 at 12:52 PM
I am so very disappointed with Snider's decision. The event raised money for the MDA. I feel that if the Harley Fest raised $6000 for a worthy charity, that should be the main concern. I am sure all the local charities could use money but they won't get any from me from this point on if their stance is "if we can't have some - nobody gets any". Snider's decision seems very narrow minded and I will just give my money directly to MDA. I would like to know the local charities that are responsible for this greedy and short sighted situation.
ecnalubma July 25, 2011 at 05:00 AM
This is a great move for the Township. It keeps with the values of the Family, Bedroom community that Northville Township has been known for. I stopped by at both of the past Harley Events held here and I can say that not one of them was in tune with the local values of the host community! From Security to many of the vendors and attendees I can personally say what an eye sore! Good job, and a nice message for future events, "honor our values and charities, or take your sideshow elsewhere"!

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