This September the Thunder Beach Rally will again vibrate the streets of Panama City Beach to mixed emotions. While many love the three-day event and tour from venue to venue on bikes others loathe the event and consider it, at the least, an unnecessary scourge on Panama City Beach’s reputation. No board on Panama City Beach has had an opinion on the matter allowing the event to proceed. But recent considerations on a potential ban could be speaking, albeit very quietly, its position.
Take yourself back a few months to the Spring Bike Rally on Panama City Beach. There were a number of venues stretching from Ms. Newby’s to Pier Park. But it was Frank Brown Park who saw the majority of bikers. If you were to visit the venue hours after the event was over, you probably would not have known anything of consequence had happened. There were a few bits of trash here and there and the occasional bandana; nothing particularly startling. But, if you were to take a closer look, there was residue that could not be missed. Everywhere, throughout the entire field at Frank Brown Park, there were thousands and thousands of cigarette butts.
To that point, Panama City Beach City Council is considering banning smoking from the park entirely. Now, it goes without saying that not every biker smokes and certainly others such as parents of softball and soccer players will be affected by the ban. Still, part of the draw for using Frank Brown Park as a venue for the leather-clad event is its open-air “field” mentality. Such restrictions would severely change that identity. The council plans to discuss the ban further early next month, just in time for the Fall Bike Rally.