It's time again to hop on a Harley and party for a good cause.
The 15th annual Thunder By The Bay motorcycle festival returns this weekend through Sunday, Jan. 6 throughout downtown Sarasota to raise money for Suncoast Charities for Children, which serves children who have special needs. All events are held rain or shine.
Parking is available throughout downtown and a designated bike area will be provided at the Palm Avenue Parking Garage.
The Marshall Tucker Band will headline this year's festival when they take the stage at 4:30 pm on Sunday.
"This year's festival will offer two new events and plenty to see and do for everyone", says Festival Director Lucy Nicandri, along with Volunteer Festival Chair, Mike Welch.
This year's festival started a day early with a Kick Start party Thursday at Michael's Tasting Room with whiskeys, wines and fine cigars.Tickets are $100 per person. There is a limited quantity available. To purchase, call 941-371-8820 ext. 1123.
The Born To Be Wild party returns at 7 p.m. Friday at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Tickets are $15 at the door and features a silent, Harley-Davidson fashion show, casino style gaming, and live entertainment. Dress is biker casual.
The downtown festival returns Saturday and Sunday features eight bands on the Jagermeister Stage and four bands on the Budweiser stage, vendor displays, great food and two bike shows.
Saturday's festival lasts from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. with free admission.
Here's your Saturday band schedule:
Jagermeister Mobile Stage (Main Street and Gulf Stream Avenue)
1 p.m.—Lauren Mitchell
3 p.m.—Damon Fowler
5 p.m.—Kettle of Fish
7 p.m.—Category Three
9 p.m.—Highway to Hell
Budweiser Stage (Lemon Avenue)
5 p.m.—Marc Anthony Roman
7 p.m.—Matthew Facciolla Band
9 p.m.—Toler Tucci Band
Another new event, "Light Up The Night" LED Bike Show is scheduled for Saturday. Registration is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Entry costs $10. The Sunday bike show registration is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Entry is $15.
Both bike shows will take place on Palm Avenue.
Sunday's festival kicks off at 9 a.m. with a Blessing of the Bikes then the downtown festival opens at 11 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.
Here's your Sunday band schedule:
Jagermeister Mobile Stage
2:30 p.m.—Bobby Friss
4:30 p.m.—Marshall Tucker Band
Noon—Come Back Alice
Bike parking is available on Main Street between Pineapple Gulf Stream Avenues and on South Palm Avenue between Main and McAnsh Streets.
A “Cruise for Cash” scenic ride for motorcycles offering $4,000 in cash prizes is also scheduled for Sunday. Registration is from 9 to 11am at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill. Secure bike parking is available at 5 Bayfront Drive for the ride.
Net proceeds benefit Suncoast Charities for Children, serving children and adults with special needs and their families. In 2012 the Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival generated an economic impact of $6.4 Million, and since the inception of the festival, $800,000 has been donated to Suncoast Charities for Children, according to organizers.
For more information, visit thunderbythebay.org.