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New festival features music, motorcycles, barbecue

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Free event being organized for Memorial Day weekend

By Amber Coulter

A new event planned for Memorial Day weekend aims to draw crowds and motorcycles to historic downtown Elizabethtown during a festival being launched by the Hardin County Heritage Council.

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BBQ, Blues and Bikes is planned from noon to 10 p.m. May 25 to feature area barbecue, blues music performed by award-winning groups and thousands of motorcycles from throughout the region.

Streets are expected to be blocked for safety. Admission to the event is free.

Plans for the day began about three months ago when a blues band playing during a Second Saturday event began a conversation about how there should be a local outlet with blues and barbecue, said Rik Hawkins, one of the organizers.

The event will bring together Fort Knox, Vine Grove, Radcliff, Elizabethtown and West Point, he said.

“We’re one county, and if we share in the fun and the excitement, I think for quality of place, quality of life, we just become a greater county,” he said.

Hawkins, who has helped coordinate Cruisin’ the Heartland during past years, said the new event already has attracted twice the number of sponsors Cruisin’ drew in its first year.

He hopes to attract at least 3,000 motorcycles to the event. Some have told him to expect many more.

Organizers plan vintage bike displays, a burnout contest and a competition in which children can wear costumes and decorate their bicycles and tricycles.

A rock wall, laser tag, face painting and inflatables also are planned for children.

Heath Seymour, executive director of the Heritage Council, said he is excited about the family friendly attractions the festival will bring for the county and for the traffic it is expected to attract to downtown businesses.

The festival was announced Friday at Back Home Restaurant on West Dixie Avenue in Elizabethtown.

Bob Fulkerson attended with members of the American Legion Riders from Post 113 in Elizabethtown.

American Legion Riders often spend the long weekend that accompanies Memorial Day in Washington, D.C. Some of the group’s estimated 120 riders had trouble finding hotel rooms this year, sohaving a local event featuring motorcycles gives members more incentive to stay home this year, he said.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It will get fellow riders to come in and see what’s good about E’town.”

Fulkerson enjoys the camaraderie when riders meet, appreciate each other’s bikes and get to know each other.

“Any time you get a bunch of riders together, it’s going to be a pretty good party,” he said.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.