The fall bike rally this week might have a little more 'vroom than last year, thanks to increased marketing and a less-abrasive sentiment among some bikers toward Myrtle Beach, according to businesses and rally organizers.
The rally, dubbed Hurricane Alley and set to kick off Wednesday, is expected to follow in the tire tracks of the pumped-up spring rally, which drew more bikers this year after a couple of soft rallies following Myrtle Beach's efforts to push the events outside city limits, business owners and rally organizers said.
Bikers have been buzzing about the rally on social media sites, vendors have filed to return to the area and the Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson dealership - which organizes the five-day rally - has promoted the event more this year in industry publications, officials said. All hint at a bigger rally, though no one can pinpoint how many bikers might show up.
"It will absolutely, definitely be better than last year. Last year was very lackadaisical," said Jamin' Jamie Keats, owner of Jamin' Leather, which will host rally events at its store in Surfside Beach. . "I already see it. It seems like they are all raring to go. I see a lot more gearing up."
The fall rally always is much smaller and more laid-back than its spring counterpart, but some connected to the rally say it's been small in recent years as bikers boycotted Myrtle Beach over its controversial helmet law, approved in 2008.
The law was struck down by the S.C. Supreme Court a year ago.
Last year, rain soaked the area during the fall rally's first two days, leaving some vendors disappointed in sales.
This year could mark the start of a comeback for the fall event, some say.
"It is starting to come back and starting to slowly grow," said DeAnna Fryar of FP Showcase, which organizes vendors at Barefoot Landing. "It's going to resurface."