SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – The inaugural Salem Bike Week kicked off Thursday with food, fun and a few raindrops.
Event organizers said security is a high priority this weekend after recent turmoil from the Waco, Texas biker brawl in May.
“I would like to welcome everyone to Salem for the first annual Super Bike Weekend. I hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe weekend,” Salem Mayor John Berlin said at the kickoff ceremony.
The city of Salem has spent the past year gearing up for Bike Week. The police department reached out to several local enforcement agencies for help with surveillance, and the Department of Homeland Security is even lending a hand.
Not only will visitors see an increase in police presence, but there also will be a Homeland Security sky tower set up right in front of Salem City Hall. The police department said the tower will allow officers to have eyes everywhere this weekend.
“The police department felt that they wanted to be prepared. I told them to do whatever they felt was necessary. They talked to other communities for this type of a command center to be set up. It just helps coordinate things,” Berlin said.
The extra security measure is coming at no cost to the taxpayers. The tower is free for events with the approval of Homeland Security. Genova said he is thankful for the extra safety measures, but he is not expecting a rowdy crowd.
“I think the concern is that this a new event. Homeland security is at all major bike events and sporting events throughout the country. It is nothing new, it is just new to Salem,” event organizer Rob Johnson said.
Motorcyclists from across the state are expected to join in on the fun, rain or shine.
“The rain separates the motorcycle enthusiasts from the bikers. To the bikers, it is just liquid sunshine,” Scott Seeley of Canton said.
Even if someone is not into motorcycles, Johnson said the bands and food are worth a trip out to the event. For a complete list of Salem Bike Week events, visit the website.