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Harley-Davidson Takes Its Birthday Party on the Road

September 04, 2002|John O'Dell

Harley-Davidson Inc. is warming up for its 100th birthday bash in Milwaukee next year with a 10-city road tour that arrives Friday at the California Speedway in Fontana.

Based on crowds that showed at the first two stops, in Baltimore and Atlanta, the three-day Southern California blowout is expected to draw thousands of Harley riders and fans of the big bikes and the Harley culture they have spawned.

In addition to celebrating all things Harley-Davidson--there are even children's events, including free rides on a plastic, battery-powered mini-Harley three-wheeler made by toy giant Fisher-Price Inc.--the festival includes a high-powered music lineup.

Performances by Kid Rock, the Stone Temple Pilots, Doobie Brothers, the Doors, Los Lobos, Billy Idol, Journey, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic and bluegrass banjo ace Earl Scruggs are scheduled over the three nights of the festival.

A quartet of 20,000-square-foot exhibit tents will house displays of Harley-Davidson history, current products, Harley and pop culture, and Harley-Davidson design and development. The latter tent includes a display of 100 years of Harley-Davidson gas tanks, tracing design and styling changes in the motorcycle maker's signature teardrop tank.

"We started planning for the 100th anniversary events the day after we took down the tents from our 95th anniversary party," said Bill Davidson, director of marketing and planning and a grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson.

"The road tour is a way to bring the company out to our customers, and to future customers," he said. "We are going to be showing things from our archives that have never been seen by the general public before."

Tickets, available at the California Speedway, Ticketmaster or online at, are $35 a day or $75 for all three days. More events, page G2.

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