PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Thunder Beach is roaring back into town this week for the 23rd annual Spring Rally.
Last year’s spring event was cancelled due to COVID-19, but this year, it’s back and some say, it’s bigger than ever.
“It’s exciting, finally getting back on the road,” said Thunder Beach vendor, Randy Thomas, owner of Randy’s Cycle Shack. “Getting back and seeing the people, seeing people get out and about, outside.”
While the event officially began on Wednesday, he said he’s seen more crowds earlier this year than in the past.
“It seems like the crowd’s bigger,” Thomas said. “Like there’s more people here earlier.”
After a year of pandemic-related challenges, the 23rd Spring Rally is a break for many.
“Time to relax, get away from work and all the stresses of life,” said Thunder Beach visitor, Bill McClain. “I think it’s going to be a record turnout.”
A Tennessee resident, McClain said he’s been coming to Thunder Beach twice a year for nearly ten years with his childhood friend, Jim Ford.
“It’s just a great opportunity to be here and enjoy riding next to the coast,” Ford said.
Both said the friends, the community and the latest and greatest motorcycle add-ons keep them coming back.
“It’s all the cool accessories that you can put on your bike,” Ford said. “It’s just endless.”
For vendors like Thomas, the business that bike week brings is like nothing else.
“Means a lot to get back on the road and help with our sponsorship with Lucas Oil and all our tire brands and manufacturers,” he said. “With having a shop at home we stay busy but with this we see a lot more people.”
With more people on the roads and on motorcycles, local law enforcement is emphasizing the importance of safe driving through the week. The Spring Rally will conclude on May 2nd.
For more information on Thunder Beach and all the events happening throughout the area, click here.