The party continues, for now.
The dream of city leaders, having more shopping, dining and entertainment on the beachside, has come to Main Street. But it’s only for this week, as the annual party called Bike Week livens up the area.
Parking lots have become outdoor concert venues or food courts, and normally closed storefronts display endless racks of biker-type clothing and jewelry.
But it’s not the kind of life on the street desired by city leaders. They seek the year-round, upscale visitor sauntering into boutique shops and dining at clever little bistros. (It's often stated that the street needs businesses for conventioneers and those staying at new hotels such as the Hard Rock.)
Some say Bike Week stands in the way of beachside revitalization, because many businesses leave with the bikers.
Spring Break was once a sandspur in the city’s foot, but has become small enough that hoteliers enjoy an uptick in the off-season while residents ignore it. Bike Week watchers say it's getting smaller. Can it be muffled enough on Main Street that year-round businesses can be developed while the 77-year-old party continues?
Or perhaps the highly-desired upscale shops and restaurants can be developed on other streets, while Main Street builds on its nightclub scene, offering a place for year-round entertainment and continuing to host a downsized Bike Week.
Beachside Daytona Beach is a microcosm of a big city, really, with the blank, glassy eyes of the high-rises on the east side of State Road A1A looking down on iffy neighborhoods on the west side of the road. Over the decades, the city has had countless studies on how to revitalize the area. The special events are always part of the discussion.
For now, the party continues. Many of the pedestrians weaving up and down the sidewalk on Main Street seem to be locals taking in the bizarre bazaar. For those interested, I paid $10 to park at a church on Halifax Drive north of Main Street. The county parking garage is also available.
It's part of the history of Daytona Beach that still exists, for now.