Motorcycle Mania returning to Middletown

August 7, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

Another busy week is upon us in Middlesex County, and Main Street Middletown is getting ready to rock once again. But before diving into the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania, I want to mention a few other important meetings and events that are scheduled for this week.

The chamber’s Executive Committee, our top governing body, will meet on Monday at the chamber office. This important group, led by Chairman Rick Morin, is comprised of member business leaders from key industry sectors throughout Middlesex County. These local business leaders are not only excelling in their professional fields, but they are all community minded and are all strong corporate citizens. I continue to appreciate the dedication of all of our Executive Committee members, and look forward to another productive meeting.

As I often note, encouraging and supporting the development of new businesses is a key goal of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. I am very excited that this week will feature two grand opening celebrations for new Middlesex County businesses that are off to a great start. On Tuesday, I will join Mayor Dan Drew and other city leaders at Antonio’s Market and Catering on South Main Street to celebrate the opening of this new local business. Antonio’s Market and Catering offers a full deli, butcher, prepared foods, bakery, ice cream, Italian imports, fresh pasta and more. Antonio’s parents, Matt and Carmela Lockwood, own Jerry’s Pizza, Matty's Next Door Sports Bar, and Carmela’s on the Extension in Middletown, so he is no stranger to serving good food to local folks. We certainly wish him and his team nothing but the best as we move forward. I also look forward to joining Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield and Economic Development Coordinator Mary Dickerson on Thursday afternoon to officially welcome Beautiful Again Boutique, LLC to the local business community. Beautiful Again Boutique is a consignment boutique offering high quality items at a discounted price. On behalf of the chamber, I also want to wish Liz Rogers and her team the best of luck with this exciting new business. It should surprise no one that the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will continue to support business development in our region.

Main Street Middletown is ready to rock as the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania is scheduled for this Wednesday evening in downtown Middletown. This event, presented by Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines Ltd., & the Hunter Family, is held in memory of a founding sponsor, Dan M. Hunter, and is driven by Haymond Law. Over 6,000 bikes are expected to converge on Main Street for the 12th installment of this annual city event which will showcase custom and vintage motorcycles. All bikes are welcome to come out for what has become the largest one-day summer motorcycle event in New England, and this year’s version is sure to be a fantastic time for everyone involved. In addition to Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines Ltd., the Hunter Family, and Haymond Law, event sponsors include: City of Middletown, Middletown Downtown Business District, Bank of America, Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, Gengras Motorcycles, Home Team Supply, Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, Liberty Bank, All American Productions, Middlesex Music Academy, Lyman Orchards Golf Club, First & Last Tavern, Willowbrook Spirit Shoppe, and WMRD/WLIS Radio. Motorcycle Mania benefits Middletown youth programs, and past proceeds have supported the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation and Community Services Department Youth Programs, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. There is a $10 entry donation, and for Award Bikes, a $15 entry donation. Bike Awards at the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania include: The Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award, in Loving Memory of Vern and Barbara Hunter - presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines Ltd., Best Vintage European Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines Ltd., Best Vintage Japanese Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines Ltd., Best Vintage British  Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines Ltd., Best Vintage American Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines Ltd., Dan M. Hunter "Functionality with Style" Award - presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines Ltd., The Haymond Law Award – presented by Haymond Law Office, Liberty’s Choice Award - presented by Liberty Bank, The Gengras Elite Award – presented by Gengras Motorcycles, DBD Farkle Award - presented by Downtown Business District, The All-American Bike Award - presented by Bank of America, The Fat City Cycle Award – presented by Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, The C. Oscar Hedström Award,” presented by Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, The Indian Motorcycle of Springfield Choice Award – presented by Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, Best Home Town Motorcycle Award - presented by Home Team Supply and Mayor’s Choice Award - presented by Middletown Mayor Dan Drew. Entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by WMRD/WLIS Radio, which will broadcast live in front of The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and Radio 104.1, which will broadcast in the Gazebo on the South Green. The popular Connecticut band Diamondback, the first band to ever play Middletown’s Motorcycle Mania, will perform on the Showmobile in front of Bank of America from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Patrones, an energetic rock & roll cover band, will perform by Brewbakers. Cromwell Martial Arts will perform an exciting martial arts demonstration in front of the Showmobile at 5:45 p.m. The demo will include forms, self-defense and weapons from kenpo karate and modern arnis.  Finally, the All American Productions Patriotic Rockabilly Fashion Show featuring 20 models will take place on the Showmobile at 6 p.m. I want to take a moment to again offer a special thank you to the Middletown Motorcycle Mania Planning Committee, led by Chairman Rich Greco, for all of its hard work in putting this major event together. Finally, I want to once again thank the City of Middletown for its strong and enduring support of the event. From Mayor Drew, to members of the Common Council, to the Police, Fire, Parking, and Public Works Departments, the city’s support is critical to the operation of this event, and it is very much appreciated. Main Street will be rocking Wednesday night and we all look forward to another great event. The Rain Date for the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania is next Wednesday, August 16.

Switching gears a bit, I want to provide a quick update on the FedEx Ground project that is under development in Middletown. As I have noted many times, the 525,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution hub which is currently under construction in the Westfield section of town is a huge win for Middletown, and for Middlesex County. Jeff Pugliese represented the chamber on a tour of the site last week with members of the City Council. In order to keep our members in the Westfield section fully informed on the progress of the project, we have scheduled a meeting of our Westfield Division on Tuesday, August 22 at the Centerpoint Connecticut offices on Centerpoint Drive. Representatives from FedEx Ground and Barton Malow will attend the meeting to provide an update on the project, and to address any questions or concerns from our members. The meeting will also feature remarks from Mayor Drew and other key city officials that play a role in this important economic development initiative. Our chamber supported this project from the beginning and worked with the city to help bring FedEx to town. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to make sure this major project is a success.

Chamber members should also mark their calendars for two exciting events coming up in August. On Tuesday, August 22, Water’s Edge Resort and Spa will host a Business After Work networking reception at its beautiful facility in Westbrook. This annual event on the shoreline has become very popular with our membership over the years. The Water’s Edge team puts out a delicious spread of food and drink which always includes a little extra shoreline flavor, and the views of the beach and water are remarkable. Water’s Edge Resort and Spa is a strong and active member of our chamber and we appreciate it. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the support of Director of Sales Keith Lindelow, Corporate Sales Manager Karen Robidoux, and especially the Dattilo Family for their constant support of the chamber. We look forward to a great event on the 22nd. The chamber’s August Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. This exciting event, sponsored by our friends at People’s United Bank, will feature UConn Head Football Coach Randy Edsall as keynote speaker. Coach Edsall recently returned to the position as Head Coach at UConn, and we are thrilled that he is back leading the Huskies on the gridiron. His remarks will include some of his thoughts on coaching and leadership, and a preview of the upcoming season of Husky football which begins on Thursday, August 31 vs. Holy Cross. We look forward to a great event and I thank Coach Edsall for speaking to our membership, and People’s United Bank for sponsoring.

I want to close by encouraging everyone in Middlesex County to visit one of the many outstanding tourist attractions that we have in our region. There is plenty of summer left, and plenty of family friendly options right in your back yard. This chamber has always recognized tourism as a strong economic driver in Middlesex County and in the surrounding areas. Middlesex County is home to some of the state’s best tourism attractions including Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, Goodspeed Musicals, Gillette Castle, Lyman Orchards, Saybrook Point Inn, Water’s Edge Resort and Spa, Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort, Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park, and more. Many tourists from other parts of Connecticut and beyond also visit Middlesex County to participate in Wesleyan University’s events and activities, and to experience the Connecticut River and the beautiful shoreline in our region. Fair season is also fast approaching, and the best and largest of them all, the Durham Fair, is scheduled for September 21 – 24 on the historic fairgrounds.

Middlesex County is hopping with activity, and the chamber is on the move.

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