Norfolk County Mayor Amy Martin says the October edition of Friday the 13th brought lots of bikes and put plenty of pedestrians to the streets of Port Dover, Ont.
The annual event, held once and sometimes twice a year since 1981, typically draws tens of thousands to the small community in the warmer months and more moderate numbers in the winter.
The fall sunshine and temperatures as high as 15 C during the afternoon drew significant but not overwhelming numbers, according to Martin.
“I don’t have exact numbers yet, but really great turnout,” she said.
“Lots of bikes, lots of pedestrians in the town.
OPP Cst. Andrew Gamble said the service wasn’t expecting to see anything close to the 100,000 the event has been known to bring to the municipality of 7,000 residents, but did prepare to receive up to 50,000.
The last event, in January, only drew a handful of bikers due to cold temperatures and slick driving conditions.
A rally in May of 2022 drew more than 100,000 people from across Canada and the northern U.S., according to police estimates.
Martin says the town did have a new parking arrangement which put the bikes down by the pier and the beach as well as on St. George and St. Andrew Street, clearing much of Main Street for emergency vehicles, if required.
She says a Friday the 13th in a peak season has the potential to carry local businesses and service clubs through a full year or certainly through the shoulder season in the winter.
“So the economic boom cannot be understated, and those service clubs are putting money right back into the community, ” according to Martin.
Gamble says some road closures around high-traffic areas will be in effect and the area will increase police presence for public safety.