At its Monday meeting, the Tourism Development Authority got an update from biker event promoter Sylvia Cochran on the Smoky Mountain Rumble.
According to Cochran, all public safety and health needs will be met, as all codes are being complied with including fire, emergency, public safety, etc.
However other facets of the festival are not going exactly according to plan, she explained. Cochran was obliged to have vendor insurance policies ready as of the date of the meeting, but did not, leaving a dearth of prospective vendors and 19 committed vendors that are not yet officially part of the event. “We’re estimating between 20 and 30 vendors,” she assured board members, adding that up to 300 bikes are expected to attend the Rumble this year.
Furthermore, Cochran reported that no alcohol will be sold at the site of the event slated for Aug. 17-19. Because the event isn’t being hosted by a political party or a nonprofit, an alcohol permit for the special event could not be acquired, according to Alcohol Law Enforcement officer Brian Ogle, who came to the meeting to answer any questions about alcohol sales. However, eventgoers can bring their own alcohol on the site as it is private property, he added.
Because the website of the event suggested that it would have alcohol sales, Cochran was advised to revise the site, which was down as of Wednesday morning.
The Rumble is set to be held on the property alongside US 64 East near the 441 interchange, the site of the Shriners carnival and several gem shows. Property owner James Vanderwoude has agreed to rent the site out for the rumble at a rate of $500 per day.
Last July, the Town of Franklin’s Tourism Development Authority unanimously approved to move forward with hosting the three-day motorcycle rally, giving promoters $14,800 of TDA funds to kick off the motorcycle rally in Macon County.
Every year for the last three years on Aug. 27, the Ruby Bash biker rally has been a charitable event held at the Macon County fairgrounds, sponsored by the Dedicated Bikers of Western North Carolina.
Organizers Ronnie Smith and Karen Flowers requested of the board the use of TDA-leased billboards to help promote and advertise the event, which they reported has had a substantial turnout over the years.
“There has always been a good response for our rally,” said Flowers, assuring the board that this year not only plans to draw on regional bikers, but also the interests of all age groups, even young people. “We want to have different music for everyone. We want to turn this into a community outreach ... Our rally is about helping out the kids of Macon County.”
This year’s Ruby Bash Rally will be held at Rose Creek Campground in North Macon, on 140 Terrace Ridge Drive. It will include a second annual toy run for Macon County Toys for Tots, a bike show, and a tattoo contest held by hosts Ink Junkies and Estelle Tattoo.
The event will be held Aug. 24 and 25, just a week after the Smoky Mountain Rumble. The TDA unanimously voted to allow the use for two billboards to help promote the event.
TDA members also unanimously voted to approve the use of $2,000 to help fund the promotion of PumpkinFest to be held Oct. 19 and 20.