Irish Hills to Host Summer Bike Festival

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This summer (July 12 - July 14), the Irish Hills area could be hosting one of the biggest motorcycle festivals in the region. Patrick Collins, president of "Thrills in the Irish Hills," hopes his new event will attract as many as 40,000 visitors.

"Visitors from out state can go through these communities, get the spirit, get the flavor of these communities and impact the commerce of those communities," Collins said.

Collins says preparation is already underway and he thinks the economic impact of the festival will be huge.

Holiday Powersports, a store that has a large inventory of motorcycles and motorcycle gear, is one of the local businesses that could benefit.

"This industry has taken a very big hit. Something like that can mean a lot to us," said Rob Tipton, manager of Holiday Powersports.

The hope is to promote their name at a festival that's likely to attract many biking enthusiasts. However, an event of this scale raises logistic and safety questions, though State Representative Earl Poleski (R-Jackson) says he's not worried.

"In our Jackson County area, we host two NASCAR races every year which is nearly 200,000 people. We know how to do the policing, we know how to do the logistics,' said Rep. Poleski.

Collins is eager to get the show started and thinks the benefits will go way beyond the event itself. Part of the profit from the festival will go toward local schools, police and fire departments and charities.

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