The Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that the fifth annual Michigan State Harley Owners Group Rally will be held in Alpena July 25-27, 2013. The event will be staged at the Alpena County Fairgrounds, and around 800 bikers are expected.
According to 2013 Michigan State HOG Rally Coordinator Robert McGeorge, Alpena was initially considered for a rally site because it is the largest city along the Northeast Michigan shoreline.
"We thought a rally here would be a great opportunity for HOG members to explore Alpena and the 'sunrise shore' of Michigan," McGeorge said. "This is an area that is less known to members and the riding and scenery are fantastic."
McGeorge and fellow HOG member Paul Blotske came to Alpena for a site visit in February and were impressed with what they saw.
"We liked the way that the city is laid out in respect to handling an event of this size," he said. "The fairgrounds are large enough to handle our group and it's centrally located. We also liked the fact that Alpena is a clean, well-kept city that offers a small-town feel but still has the services and amenities of a larger city."
"McGeorge said the biggest factor in making the decision to propose Alpena as a rally site was the support offered by the Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and other community members.
"I got the impression from the very first conversation that we would be welcome and the visitor's bureau would be willing to help us with the event," he said. "Everyone else we spoke to were very welcoming and supportive of the idea."
The event opens with live entertainment on Thursday night at the fairgrounds. During the rest of the weekend, bikers will enjoy several scenic rides with stops at surrounding towns and nightly entertainment. Special events include a motorcycle parade and fireworks display over Thunder Bay.
"HOG rallies differ from other motorcycle events in that ours is a riding event," McGeorge said. "While we still enjoy a good party, we set up our schedule so that attendees can spend the day riding their motorcycles during the day and then return in the evening for our festivities. While there are activities during the day, our focus is to get people out riding and exploring."