The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
Published September 15, 2021
Section of The Strip closed as Bikefest begins
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The 2021 Lake of the Ozarks Bikefest begins today (September 15) and runs through September 19 and there have been some changes this year.
It was announced a year ago that the Bagnell Dam would be closing for three months following Labor Day for repairs.
The city also voted to close a large section of The Strip for 15 hours each day. According to a news release, the city blamed this on the organizers and sponsors of the event.
“The unanimous decision was made during a special meeting Sept. 9 called by Mayor Dennis Newberry to address growing public pressure to take some type of action regarding parking of motorcycles on The Strip during the five-day Bikefest event.
“None of the previous Bikefest sponsors had stepped forward this year to request a permit from the city asking for the center lane of The Strip to be closed for motorcycle parking, leaving the lake-wide event with no real central location for gatherings. This year’s Bikefest sponsor, the Convention and Visitor Bureau, had not applied for a permit, either,” the release stated.
These types of events are not sponsored by the city but the city allows use of its facilities so events can take place. It’s not the city’s role to seek out events, officials have said.
Bagnell Dam Blvd. will be closed from Ballenger Road east to the city limits, which is just west of Bagnell Dam to vehicle traffic from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. beginning September 15 and ending at 2 a.m. September 20.
“I have no issue with Bikefest,” said Lake Ozark Police Chief Gary Launderville. “It brings some of the friendliest people that our police department has ever dealt with. But without an event application or any plans put in place, we have nowhere to go and I have to do what I have to do as police chief to provide public safety for the entire city. We don’t allow center-lane parking without a special permit.”
The Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau (LOCVB) explained in their release that a change had been made causing the problem.
“In addition to the closure of the Bagnell Dam, six weeks prior to the event, there was a change in the organizer for the Bagnell Dam Strip area that handles a lot of the events logistics for that area. This left the Bikefest committee and the City of Lake Ozark in a position to try to see what needed to be done to keep the event moving forward in the that area.
“Since it was short notice, it made it difficult to follow the typical timeline the City of Lake Ozark has in place to process the appropriate applications for permits to shut down the road for parking, so the City of Lake Ozark went above and beyond to accommodate the situation.”
The LOCVB said they have processed the application just to follow protocol and will finalize the insurance for the event to the City of Lake Ozark to be presented at the next board meeting.
The Strip is a popular gathering place for bikers due to the large amount of alcohol establishments concentrated in the area.
The event is not limited to Lake Ozark but takes place throughout the lake area.
Bikers for Christ will host the Passport Program where riders purchase a $20 passport and then ride to 18 separate locations where they receive a stamp and then turn in the completed passport at the Lake of the Ozarks Harley-Davidson Dealership for a drawing that will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 19.
Proceeds from the Passport Program are used to promote the event, with a portion of the proceeds being allocated to benefit the efforts of the local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, Fishers of Men, for their participation in executing the Passport Program.
The event will host three vendor village areas at Lake of the Ozarks Harley-Davidson, Camden on the Lake Resort and throughout Bagnell Dam Blvd.
People can visit www.lakebikefest.com for more information.
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