75,000 attend Friday the 13th


FRIDAY the 13th was Port Dover’s 66th motorcycle rally. There were some changes to the organization of this event and some returning favourites.
Paul Nurmi of Hamilton, the ever-present “Thong Man”, made his recovery debut sporting several outfits throughout the day. Last year he was injured in a collision on his motorcycle and couldn’t come out in his “Thong Superman” outfit. He first arrived in the Superman before changing into “Desert Storm.” He also brought “Indiana Jones” and “Thong Cop”. All outfits are created by him and he now has 302 in total.
“I’m feeling just about completely well now,” Mr. Nurmi said of his recovery.
“Thong Man” rode to Port Dover on his new 1100 Yamaha Virago limited edition with bull horns affixed to the handlebars.

Above: An estimated 75,000 people attended Friday the 13th last week. There was a large police presence throughout town on the streets, on the water and in the sky with no reported incidents. Bikers rode into town all day with the largest number of bikes and bikers on the streets in the early afternoon. See September 18th’s Port Dover Maple Leaf for more pictures from Friday’s event.           Photo by Earl Hartlen

Another fan favourite Patti Berry, of Hanover, came in her bright pink V6 trike.
“I was born here so I see a lot of people. Coming back here everybody takes your picture and they tell you that they have all your pictures at home. Some come and see me every year, keep me informed about their wives’ health and wives tell me about their husbands’ health. I just love it,” she said.
Patti said this year will likely be her last trip to Port Dover Friday the 13th. “We won’t be coming back to Dover, we will be going to Ipperwash instead,” she stated.
Ipperwash, a beach town on Lake Huron, held an alternative biker event on Friday with a “Move Over Dover” theme. However, the group’s facebook page suggests they have already given up on holding another biker event on Friday the 13th saying “no more Friday the 13th for us.” Instead they have set a fixed date of the second weekend in September for their biker rally.
Some of the changes for this year’s Port Dover event included a new layout for Main Street. Bikes were not able to park in two downtown blocks designated vendor areas. This was for safety reasons and to allow for emergency vehicle access. Opinions from riders were divided. Some liked the change.
“I liked that all the vendors were in one spot instead having to look all over the place for them. It was kind of nice,” said Liana Lindwood of Fort Erie.
Others didn’t.
“The only thing I didn’t like is that they didn’t have the bikes down the street, all the way down the Main Street,” said Zeke Baker of Cambridge.
As always, Friday the 13th is the perfect opportunity for enthusiasts from all over North America to come out to meet fellow bikers and exhibit their own bikes.
“It’s a nice ride and a welcoming town. They welcome all the bikers into town. It’s a very cordial experience with the people who live in town,” said Tim Elling of West Seneca, New York.
The OPP reminded motorists to stay safe while visiting.
“People who are coming down for Friday the 13th to enjoy the festivities, we are asking them to act in a safe and mature manner. If you plan on coming down and getting intoxicated by alcohol or other intoxicating substances, please make sure you have a plan in place,” said Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP.
Police estimate 75,000 people attended the event on Friday. Police reported no incidents.
For this event, Norfolk County changed its bylaw to deny a vendor permit to groups “that are associated with organized crime.” Officials believed these groups were looking for members with the sale of their branded merchandise. To skirt the law on Friday, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club handed out free t-shirts to anyone willing to wear the bright red t-shirt with a bold “Support 81 Ontario.” H is the 8th letter of the alphabet and A the first letter to create 81 for HA. Many people were seen wearing these t-shirts on the street.


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