Here in Central Florida we are surrounded by dealerships. All of them are popular with their own loyal customers and most host their share of events. I always enjoy these and attend as many as I can squeeze in. On August 31, I had the pleasure of being invited to an event at Orlando Harley’s Old Factory Store location, which is strategically situated by I-4. This was a chance for me and a couple hundred of my closest friends to preview the new 2013 Harleys and some new clothing and gear offerings. I was looking forward to seeing the new models up close, since I’d already been checking them out online. So I jumped at the chance to go and I’m sure glad I did, as this event was more like a theatrical performance or a rock concert. I arrived just at 7:00 p.m. when the event was set to start and the parking lot was already full. On the way to the dealership I ran into several people I knew, and many who I hadn’t seen in quite a while. The dealership, like the parking lot, was packed. I hadn’t seen it this busy since the grand opening several years ago. With the buffet service offering free food, there were plenty of hungry folks in line; outside there was a patio bar set up serving refreshments, and demo rides on the new models were an option for those wishing to take a spin. Inside, models were stationed on platforms around the room, and a huge stage was set up in the middle of the showroom with a ramp entering from a side door. I meandered around for a while, collecting hugs and shaking hands like a politician running for re-election. Then at about 8:15 things started to heat up when the music got louder, and all the lights got lower. Up on the ramp, a gal appeared with two fire batons and slowly worked herself halfway down the runway. She did an impressive show demonstrating her level of skill with the flaming batons and left everyone begging for more. As her show wound down, the ramp was engulfed in smoke and the familiar roar of Harleys brought everyone back to reality. The smoke slowly cleared, as one by one a new Harley appeared on the ramp and rolled down into the showroom floor ridden by a salesman. In all there were 11 models paraded out like fine-bred stallions, much to the appreciation of everyone. As the show closed, Anne and Frank Deli walked down the ramp and thanked everyone for coming. It was truly an incredible presentation hosted by some very prominent members of the Orlando and Harley communities whom I had the pleasure of meeting several years ago when I was part of the first Women’s Day at the dealership. To date, they are the proud owners of 16 dealerships, with both working for Harley in high-level corporate jobs before becoming shop owners… On September 2, I just had to meander up to Ormond Beach to the famous Iron Horse Saloon for a big bike show and the chance to see my two favorite bands in the state, JeNDeR and Big Engine. It was quite the event and the place was packed. Maybe it was the highly-promoted bikini contest with a $1,500 payout, but I think the big bike show was part of the draw, as well. At least, it was for me… Of course, the weekend of September 8 there were a lot of things happening here in Central Florida, focusing on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. I headed to Sanford to the 4th annual Memorial honoring the 343 firefighters lost in New York. The event was held at the American Legion and sponsored by Fire & Iron MC. The flag ceremony and a musical presentation performed on bagpipes brought tears to many eyes, as we remembered the brave men and women who lost their lives that day. A portion of the proceeds raised will be used to support other fallen firefighters… After that, I pointed my handlebars northwest and headed up to catch the end of the Chili Cook Off at Gator Harley in Leesburg. With a nice cash prize for the first three winning flavors, there were quite a few entries followed by a mad dash for Rolaids at the closest convenience store afterwards. Proceeds from the day went to support firefighter charities in the area… That afternoon another popular event was held down in Osceola County, the annual Jason Burnett Memorial Ride. This police-escorted ride started and ended at Orlando Harley South on west Highway 192. The proceeds from this event will go to the USO Care Package Campaign in Jacksonville… On September 16, also in Kissimmee, my friends at Art in Motion hosted a poker run to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Registration started at Chili’s and made various stops throughout the town before winding up at the home base on Ross Ave. The $25 pre-registration included a T-shirt, the run and the chance to enjoy a concert by Tuk’R Hill (only $15 the day of the run, T-shirt not included)… That day, my friends and I headed toward Daytona to the Whiskey River Saloon on US-1 for a celebration called Right to Fly. It gave all of us who wear our colors proudly a chance to hang out and visit others who also want to preserve that right. Although there was a recurring presence of local officers who obviously expected some sort of action to go down, the day was pleasant and quiet with representatives from many clubs. There were 1%ers, Christian clubs, women’s clubs, military clubs and even a large club on sportbikes. And yet, the day was quiet with enjoyable music and food. Just goes to show that even bikers can behave sometimes—not always, but sometimes! Till next time… ride safe and God bless.