In attracting more than 600 mostly senior bicyclists for the 2018  Bike Florida Spring Tour,  Edgewater officials think they might have landed the perfect event for their city.

Not only will the mid-March Sands and Stars Tour have a positive and low impact on the city and local environment, City Manager Tracey Barlow said local businesses of all types will benefit.

Tours based in similar-sized Florida cities have left behind an estimated $2.6 million, according to officials.

“This is the type of event we like to have, for many reasons,” the city manager said. “Not only will they be welcomed visitors, they will be baby boomers coming on the heels of a very nasty winter up north and this will be a good opportunity to attract them down our way.”

Samantha Bergeron, director of the city’s Leisure Services Department, is serving as the city’s “event commander” to coordinate an array of city services with tour officials.

Ms. Bergeron said the guests are making her job easy.

“I am so impressed with how organized and efficient they are,” she said, noting the prestigious tour is expected to draw between 600 and 700 bicyclists from all parts of the country.

The event will be based in the Hawks Park Sports Complex and neighboring YMCA facility March 15-20.  Then tour will pack up and move March 21 to begin a second leg that will be based in Titusville.

While the tour was provided access to the YMCA facility without charge, tour officials will contribute $2,500 to the YMCA, Ms. Bergeron said.

While the average age of participants is estimated at 62, that didn’t stop the tour from selecting a nationally recognized bicycle stunt team to present two performances on the final day for local school children.

The Orlando-based BMX Trickstars, a high-flying bicycle stunt show that performs a variety of BMX stunts and freestyle tricks, will perform at 5:30 and 7 p.m. March 19 and will be available for photos and autographs in between, according to event officials.

With more than 20 years of experience, the show offers both on-ground freestyle and high-flying ramp action by professional, experienced and innovative bicycle stunt riders, according to the team’s website.

Mayor Mike Ignasiak and City Manager Barlow, both avid bicyclists, have been active supporters of constructing and expanding the bicycle trails the visitors will be exploring.

Bicycle excursions of between 20 and 90 miles will launch daily, bicycling south to Maytown Road and west to DeLeon Springs, Ms. Bergeron said.

In the days prior to the event, Bike Florida staff will work with the Edgewater Parks and Recreation Department to provide transport truck-size shower and restroom trailers to be hooked up on site.

The official event kicks off at 7:15 p.m. Friday, March, 16, with rider orientation and welcoming comments from the mayor.

Other services available for participating bicyclists will include massage services, campsite bike mechanics, a beer tent, breakfasts, special themed dinners and beverages.

Evening festivities open to the public will begin daily at 5 p.m. at the Hawks Park amphitheater.

Nightly entertainment provided by Bike Florida, and open to the public, will feature Little Jake and the Soul Searchers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17; The Margarita Boys Sunday, March 18; and performances by the BMX Trickstars Monday, March 19.

The Edgewater Police Department will have officers, citizen patrols and traffic units provide policing of the parks and to handle traffic issues as bike tours exit and enter the area.

Businesses and vendors can take part in the event by setting up booths to tell people about their business or organization, provide discounts, or watch for wristbands that Bike Florida participants will be wearings.

For more vendor or advertising information, call (727)272-0015 or email joy@bikeflorida.org.

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