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Harley Fest Returns to Northville Saturday To Raise Money For a Cause

Harley Fest 2011 will be held at the Northville Community Park from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Loud bikes, good food, live rock bands, helicopter rides and sporting challenges will converge at one Northville event on Saturday – the 13th Annual Harley Fest.

will return to Northville Community Park for a second year, complete with the annual ride from as well as some new additions.

Harley Fest brings together Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Michigan. Both bikers and non-bikers are welcome to attend. Admission to the event is free, however parking costs $10.

This year, sponsors WRIF Radio and Motor City Harley Davidson decided to change the band concept by having a series of cover bands perform throughout the day. Previously, Harley Fest entertainment was provided by local original artists.

"Basically, that's what people want to hear," Julie Law, WRIF director of marketing and promotions, said. "They want to hear songs that they know, classics. We're still using local bands, they're just cover or tribute bands." 

Some of the bands include Lookin’ Back, a Bob Seger tribute band; The Nightmare, an Alice Cooper tribute band, Panama, a Van Halen tribute band and Stranglehold, a Ted Nugent tribute band.

Also new this year is the Miss Harley Fest bikini competition.

"There's not going to be any dancing or butt shaking," Jennifer Loberman, Motor City Harley Davidson marketing director said. "The guy that is running the bikini contest does Miss USA Pageants and things like that."

Loberman said she came up with the idea to get some future marketing and promotions going. The winner of the contest will receive $600 of cash in prizes as well as a photo shoot with Harley Davidson and paid promotional appearances.

"We want Miss Harley Fest (to be) an attractive, classy person that we think represents what Harley Fest is about," Loberman said. "And we thought it would be something that people wanted to see."

There will also be a Man Card Village. It's named after the popular WRIF Man Card, which will allow men and women to get their own official man cards (or WoMan Card) that will give them access to games including a dunk tank, mechanical bull, a motorcycle simulator and Marines pull challenge.

Man Card Village will also feature a beer pong tournament where contestants could win an Apple Vacation and Tigers Tickets.

Law said that they added Man Card Village this year to "enhance the event."

The annual ride will begin at Motor City Harley Davidson. Loberman said they expect about 500 bikes. Registration begins at 8:30 on Saturday and costs $20 per bike. The ride will leave at 11:30 a.m.

"It's one of the safest police escorted rides in the state," Loberman said. "It's a 45-minute scenic ride that ends at Northville Community Park. The registration covers both you and a passenger."

Each year, Harley Fest draws several thousand people and raise anywhere between $30,000 to $40,000 to benefit a non-profit organization. This year's proceeds will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, or MDA.

"We had partnered with the MDA when this event first started," Law said. "We just decided to re-partner with them just because they're a great partner. They're the perfect fit for us."

"We have a long history with muscular dystrophy," Loberman added. "We say that we have a passion for bikes and a compassion for others. Bikers are always very giving."

The funds raised from Harley Fest will be used to help over 1,800 children and adults in Wayne, Monore, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties affected by muscular dystrophy.

"We cover or treat over 40 different types of neuro-muscular disorders," Audrey Pawl, MDA director of business development said.

The MDA provides children ages 6 to 17 a week long summer camp. The Harley Fest funds will help more than 85 kids attend camp in either Lexington or Grand Rapids.

"The kids go for a week and they just get to have fun with other kids that have muscular dystrophy," Pawl said. "The camp and all of the activities are modified for them. It's like the best week of their lives."

In addition to summer camp, the Harley Fest funds will also provide clinic visits for children and adults, support groups and research to one day find a cure for all types of muscular dystrophy.

"There's going to be lots for people to do all day long," Loberman said. "We just want everybody to have fun and to help raise money for the MDA."

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