Crowds enjoy a hot time at Downtown Friday Bike Nite

VERO BEACH — 14th Avenue in historic Downtown Vero Beach looked a bit like a Harley Davidson showroom, with motorcycles buffed, polished and glistening in the bright sunlight at Downtown Friday’s Bike Nite. 

Downtown Friday always draws a diverse crowd, and despite the sultry summertime heat, hundreds came out to enjoy the music and entertainment. There is always something to catch the attention of everyone at Downtown Friday events.  Kids were having a great time in the bounce house and quite a few also showed off their hula hoop skills throughout the night. 

The more sedentary folks bring their own chairs to sit in the shade and listen to the music.  And the talented John Quinlivan Band from Brevard County didn’t disappoint, with their bluesy rock and roll mix.

New to Downtown Friday, the mechanical bull Bodacious challenged a few brave riders.  LaPorte Farms supplied the ride and was donating a portion of the proceeds to Youth Guidance, the charity of the night.

“There’s no age limit,” said Laura LaPorte.  “We’ve had from one year old to 80 years old on it.”

According to wrangler Wendell English, the bull can be set to any speed.

“If they want to go slow that’s what we do.  And if they want to get booted off, we can do that too,” said English.  “We do have fun with it!”

There were also some fierce competitions in Corn Holing, aka bean bag tossing, organized by the bar Filthy McNasty’s.  A few real ringers seemed to have been practicing at the bar’s Wednesday night competitions.

During band breaks, the Cactus Moon Dance Club, a group of country western line dancers, entertained the crowd with their fancy footwork.  The non-profit group performs at events to raise money for charities and promote an interest in line dancing.

Members of the Sebastian Rotary Club were promoting their fundraising give-away, an Artic Cat 4-wheeler.

“We thought with all the bikers, it might be a good place to sell some raffle tickets,” said Club member Joel Tyson.  They will be selling their $20 tickets until just before the July 4th fireworks display (actually on July 3) at Riverview Park in Sebastian, when they’ll draw the winner.

At the booth of the presenting sponsor, Main Street Vero Beach, people were picking up the new Walking Map of historic sites, restaurants, galleries, shops and government buildings.  The free maps are available at the Cultural Council/Main Street Vero Beach office, the Chamber of Commerce, City Hall and the Library.

The air-conditioned Tulaa Gallery, featuring the works of local artists, was open for business and drawing a crowd.  Owners were donating a portion of the evening’s proceeds to their neighbor, the Cultural Council of Indian River County.

Beverly Paris, one of the originators of the event, said that July’s Summer in the City will be the last Downtown Friday she and husband Marty will be involved with.

“The one in the fall would have been our 16th year and we just felt it was time for some new blood with new ideas,” said Paris.  “We’ll just come to enjoy ourselves now.  We’ve loved every minute; especially when we see people dancing and having a good time like this.” {igallery 222}

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