Aside from an investment in ear plugs or Gord’s Chrome Polish, there are other ways pro and anti-Thunder Beach participants can prepare for the twice-a-year event that can make it an overall better experience for everyone.
1. Signage – Don’t expect bikers, or anyone for that matter, to know your rules if you don’t have them visible. Know your boundaries and set them. If you don’t want the bikers to do burnouts in the parking lot of your establishment, you’d better say so. But beyond the rules you set, there also needs to be a reminder, posted throughout the city, for bike safety. Use signage to express your limits as an establishment as well as to remind those in vehicles to be conscious of those on bikes.
2. Be Informed – Know the Venues. Anyone who does not care for Thunder Beach knows how frustrating it is to want to go to your favorite restaurant only to find all the parking spaces taken up by Harleys. Know the venues so you either know where to go or where to avoid. If you are a biker, knowing the venues helps you keep bikes off the neighborhood streets which in turn makes Panama City Beach residents happy. Residents should know the venues and so they don’t accidentally take a van-full of kids into the heart of a raucous event. Currently, the posted venues for the event are Frank Brown Park, The Shoppes At Edgewater featuring Rock’it Lanes, The Boardwalk Beach Resort, Club La Vela, Sharky’s Restaurant & Tiki Bar, Pier Park, Pineapple Willy’s
3. Staff – As we near the end of the season, cutting back on staff is the last thing you want to do before this type of event. Let this be your rehearsal for Spring Break. Not that Bikers will be anywhere near as rowdy as breakers, especially during the Fall rally which is subdued compared to its rowdier Spring sibling, but having a knowledgeable staff that knows how to handle crowd control makes everything run smoother and can give you peace of mind on those thunderous nights.
4. Make Early/Alternate Plans – If you don’t like the bike weekend and want to avoid the whole scene, make plans to go out rather than sit at home and sulk. Head into to town for Panama City Downtown Friday Fest, take the kids over to the Skate Factory just off Harrison avenue or go see a show at the Marina Civic Center. There’s lots to do when the bikers take over the beach.
5. Expect a Bad Apple, But A Relatively Good Barrel – Don’t let one bad apple make you cringe at the thought of the entire event. No doubt, there are a million Thunder Beach horror stories you or anyone can tell, but I can assure you there are equal if not more positive stories about the thunderous occasion. Bikers, for the most part, are good people who spend loads of money to come to Panama City Beach and enjoy their favorite hobby with others. Yes, the pipes are loud, but you have to consider that even the loud pipes you love to hate are for safety purposes. Go into the weekend expecting a few bad apples in an overall good batch and you’ll have greater peace of mind for it.
Thunder Beach Weekend starts September 24th and goes through the 27th. For more information on the event please stop by www.thunderbeachproductions.com