10,000 expected for bike show’s return to Snohomish

SNOHOMISH — Everything is ready in Historic Downtown Snohomish.

The Sky Valley 16th annual Antique and Classic Motorcycle Show is returning to the city this Sunday after a four-year absence.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. There could not be a better backdrop for an antique motorcycle show,” show committee chairman Brad Watson said.

Watson is part of the nonprofit Sky Valley chapter of the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, which is organizing the event.

The free all-ages event begins at 8 a.m. Sunday and is set to have at least 300 people displaying their motorcycles, live music and almost 50 vendors.

The last year Snohomish hosted the event was in 2008; it drew about 20,000 people, Watson said.

A city official estimates between 8,000 and 10,000 people would attend this year.

People can still register their motorcycle the day of the event after paying the $10 entrance fee, Watson said.

ABATE moved the show out of Snohomish after a disagreement with city officials on how much to pay for police costs. The group then held subsequent shows in Sultan and Everett. Last year, the event was canceled because the group did not get enough sponsors.

The show is returning because of the city’s decision to contract out policing to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

The group has paid about $6,800 in police costs this year. They estimate that’s about a fifth of what the group was being charged in 2009.

Having the show back means more people visiting the downtown area and eating in local restaurants, Snohomish economic development manager Debbie Emge said.

“We are excited to have the motorcycle show back,” Emge said.

There’s also an emotional reason in coming back. The group wanted to honor Thomas “Buck” Kelley, the event’s founder, who died last July, Watson said.

The city is closing streets to make way for the motorcycles and the people walking downtown. First Street and Second Street will be closed to traffic from Avenue D to Maple Avenue and Glen Avenue the day of the event, which runs until 4 p.m.

In the end, people can not only enjoy motorcycles but also meet different people, Watson said.

“All the people will have big smiles on their faces looking at the shiny bikes. It’s not only the motorcycles but the interesting people,” Watson said. “They are people from all walks in life.”

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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