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.