The early fall edition of Port Dover’s famous biker showcase was noticeably more thin on Friday than previous incarnations of the traditional event.
OPP Const. Ed Sanchuck revealed that Friday the 13th in Port Dover was “uneventful” from a policing standpoint, with only an estimated 75,000 taking part in the gathering.
The last event, in July 2018, drew close to 140,000 according to OPP, who increased their presence in anticipation of eclipsing that number.
The potential for one of the largest crowds had the OPP going as far as alerting would-be attendees that they would have “a heavy focus on traffic flow and direction throughout the event.”
Police also put pressure on visitors to refrain from purchasing merchandise “supporting known organized crime groups.”
OPP claimed that profits from such merchandise directly supports illegal activities, including fraud, drug and human trafficking, extortion and money laundering, in addition to putting a would-be buyer at risk from rival group members.
“Although Friday the 13th attracts mostly law-abiding motorcycle enthusiasts, we continue to see the presence of those who live and promote a lifestyle outside of the law,” said Brad Nunn, an investigator from the investigation and support bureau.
The tradition of motorcycle enthusiasts converging on the Lake Erie community each Friday the 13th dates back to 1981.
That year, a Port Dover motorcycle shop owner got together with friends, beginning the first version of what’s now become an institution in the tiny district of 6,000.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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