‘Look at this mess’: Leesburg Bikefest criticized for scaled-down spring event

LEESBURG, Fla. — Bikers are rumbling into Leesburg for what is traditionally one of Lake county’s biggest events, Bikefest.


The pandemic canceled Bikefest in 2020, then pushed it to November of last year.

Five months later it’s back, and it’s not quite the same.

READ: 9 things to do this weekend: Florida Puerto Rican Parade & Festival, Melbourne Art Festival and more

What’s normally an entire weekend is now just one official day, Saturday, and people said they don’t like the change.

Normally, Main Street is closed to cars by this point and is packed with bikers. So far, it’s not quite as busy as normal.

“I came over here for Leesburg Bikefest, which was one of the greatest three day weekends in Florida,” biker George Como said. “And look at this mess. Nobody’s here.”

READ: End of Reedy Creek: Disney won’t pay more taxes, but you will

The Leesburg event in November was a success, with a full weekend of music and fun.

This year, it’s back at its usual April timeslot, but is scaled back to one official day, with the main stage only on Saturday.

“This is the sorriest rally I’ve ever been to, and it’s very sad for me to say that,” biker Kenneth Simmons said.

READ: DeSantis signs bill to dissolve Disney’s self-governing power

Event organizers understand the criticism, but point out this weekend’s event is in the same fiscal year as November’s event, and money for another full-blown Bikefest wasn’t available.

“I hope they’re understanding,” said Joanie Smalley, executive director of Leesburg Partnership. “It’s not cheap for us to put this on for three days.”

Several business have jumped in to help fill the gap to ensure bikers have things to do.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.