By: Bea Lewis, Union Leader
Laconia is rolling out the red carpet to host the 95th annual Motorcycle Week Saturday through June 17.
State and city leaders gathered Thursday morning at Gunstock Recreation Area in Gilford to announce the newest offerings at the event, coupled with the theme of urging participants to ride safe.
Laconia Police Chief Matt Canfield said safety is the department’s top priority and strongly urged attendees not to drink and drive.
“Our goal is to have zero traffic fatalities during this year’s event,” he said.
Maj. Matthew Shapiro, operations bureau commander of the New Hampshire State Police, said the agency’s motorcycle unit will be escorting four different charity rides during the week.
Cynthia Makris, president of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said the event has earned the AMA designation of being the oldest rally in the world because of a loyal following of riders who return year after year.
“We’ve formed friendships — really relationships — all around riding and the love for what riding means to all of us,” she said.
The event is an economic boon to the region and state and has also helped raise thousands of dollars for a variety of charitable causes, Motorcycle Week Association Director Jennifer Anderson said.
Major events during the week include the return of the hill climb at Gunstock during which both amateurs and pros will pit their machines and muscles against the steep runout of the 70-meter Torger Tokel Memorial Ski Jump.
Gunstock General Manager Greg Goddard said the event will no longer be BYOB and that no coolers or glass will be allowed on the grounds.
Phil Warren, town manager in Meredith, said on Thursday that community will host the 25th annual Freedom Ride at Hesky Park, home of the state’s only POW/MIA memorial. Event organizer Bob Jones Warren urged him to announce that the goal is to have attendance exceed the capacity of the lakeside park.
Read the complete article on newhampshire.com.