ATLANTIC BEACH - The Atlantic Beach Town Council on Monday approved a Bikefest operations plan that officials are hoping will end the festivities sooner than usual.
Town Manager Marcia Conner presented the plan to the Town Council and it was approved with a 5-0 vote. Conner said the guidelines are not likely to change unless the Bikefest Committee has a major problem with some part of the plan.
Conner told the Town Council that town officials and police had trouble getting the vendors to close on Memorial Day afternoon in 2006, causing many patrons to also stick around late into the afternoon.
The 2007 plan calls for vendors to close at 2 p.m. on the rally's final day.
Police will allow vendors an hour window after 2 p.m. during which to cease operations.
Fines could be levied against vendors that do not comply with the closing time, the plan states.
"If you set the time at 4 [p.m.], then there will be people there selling until 5 or 6," Conner told the Town Council. "So, I suggest we set a soft closure time of 2 p.m. with the thought that they will all be closed by 3.
"We don't want a military closing where we have to send police from vendor to vendor."
Vendors will be able to open for business at 2 p.m. on Friday.
They can open at 9 a.m. each morning during the weekend, and can stay open until 2 a.m. on the bike rally's first three nights.
During an open discussion of Bikefest, Councilwoman Sherry Suttles questioned whether bikers were likely to return to Atlantic Beach after the town charged patrons an entrance fee last year.
Conner helped allay her fears and told the council that she had been approached by a national motorcycling organization that plans to hold its annual meeting during this year's Bikefest.
That group expects more than 1,000 bikers to come, Conner said.
Conner said the group was interested in holding several events in Atlantic Beach, although those plans have not been finalized.