Revving to go
Vince Zandbelt, Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee member is getting ready for the first of three Bike Nights to be held this summer at Sweet Corner Park. The first one will kick off on Thurs., June 20 at 5 p.m. Sawyer Helmer photo

WINCHESTER – The Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee is gearing up for a new event series starting this month dubbed Winchester Bike Night. Happening at Sweet Corner Park, motorcyclists from near and far along with the community are welcome to join in for an evening of food, craft beer and live music. 

Three events will take place throughout the summer months on the third Thursday of each month on June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Each night will feature a different band or musician and craft brewery. In addition, the local eateries will join in the fun by providing special motorcycle themed menu items. Signs outside Cup of Jo’s, Mr. Mozzarella, Milanos, Iron Forge, Simply Baked Catering Inc. and Mary’s restaurant as well as Country Kitchen (which will be set up on site), will let visitors know where to find the themed snacks. Craft breweries Étienne Brûlé, Rurban and Humble Beginnings will also each provide the craft beer on their allotted evenings with Winchester Foodland donating water for each event.  

Currently on Thursday evenings, local musician Jeff Nelson uses the park for an open mic night, committee member Vince Zandbelt was grateful that Nelson offered the use of the park for the event dates to accommodate the Bordertowne Boys in June, Marleen Fawcett in July and The Brea Lawrenson Trio in August. 

Meanwhile, three local non-profits will be featured each month and selling 50/50 tickets to fundraise for their organizations. These include Community Food Share, House of Lazarus and Black Walnut Prostate Cancer Awareness group. 

Zandbelt said the group has been reaching out to a number of bike groups in the surrounding areas as well as promoting the events during the Ride for Dad in early June. These include an antique bike group that has been invited and some specialty bikes that will be on site for viewing. But the events aren’t just for riders, Zandbelt said. The free admission, good food and good music make it a great event for everyone in the community. 

The idea came after Zandbelt attended an event for a year-round weekly bike night in Florida. After being involved with the Ride for Dad, Zandbelt recognized that a destination night would be a good way to give Winchester some exposure while giving the community a chance to see the motorcycles – a chance they don’t get with the Ride for Dad. Zandbelt added that the bikes will be great to look at but visitors are respectfully asked not to touch or sit on them. 

“Our goal was to build this park at the corner and get some use out of it. There has been some use but we thought this would be kind of a nice way to put Winchester on the map as far as motorcycles, along with the Ride for Dad,” he said. 

Many motorcycle groups in the area often ride together to the nearby cities and grab lunch before hitting the road. These events, Zandbelt said, are a way to give the riders a destination where they can mingle with fellow bikers, enjoy what Winchester has to offer and spend the afternoon out. 

Zandbelt mentioned that Main Street can be closed down should numbers require it for visitors to have some room to roam while the bikes will be parked along the boulevards nearby. So far, there has been considerable positive attention online and when brochures were distributed at the Ride for Dad. With some luck of good weather, Winchester’s Bike Nights will be a big hit.