MUSKEGON, Mich.– Organizers say that although Muskegon’s annual ‘Bike Time’ draws 100,000 to the area and pumps millions of dollars into the local economy, concern over its future is growing if a new farmer’s market moves in next year.
“One of the best things for us is the exposure it (‘Bike Time’) gives our community to out-of-town visitors from across the state and across the country,” said Steve Warmington, Muskegon’s former mayor and a ‘Bike Time’ board member.
If the new farmer’s market moved in, it would be at the heart of the 10 block ‘Bike Time’ route. David Burlingame, the Vice Chair of ‘Bike Time,’ said the board is trying to keep both.
“We’re working to resolve how the farmer’s market and ‘Bike Time’ can operate on the same Saturday of the year,” he said.
According to Warmington, he said they started talking with the city three weeks ago about how they can make it work for next year but, “they have indicated to us that they won’t be closing Western Ave.” and will not be making the farmer’s market available.
During that weekend, parking is already at a premium without the farmer’s market. Organizers say it’s crucial to keep Western Ave. open to allow that loop of motorcycles to flow around downtown.
On Monday, Muskegon Mayor Stephen Gawron said he is working on getting a meeting together to figure out a plan to have both events.
“We’ll be laying out some different possibilities with the ‘Bike Time’ festival and again I think we will allot many of their concerns,” he said.
Organizers say it needs to happen sooner rather than later, though.
“We have sponsors whose contracts are up and we have vendors who are coming here for seven years and we want to assure them that everything is going to remain the same,” Warmington said. “Even though city hall doesn’t think so, timing is of the essence, we need to have this put into place.”