News Item: (USA) Hells Angels’ impending visit changes Spirit Valley Days
(Category: Biker News)
Posted by ace
Thursday 16 July 2009 - 02:13:38

West Duluth’s annual Spirit Valley Days is being held two weeks early to avoid the Hells Angels coming to town.

More than 1,000 members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club are expected in Carlton and St. Louis counties from July 29 to Aug. 2 for its 2009 USA Ride.

Listed by the FBI as one of the country’s largest outlaw motorcycle gangs, local law enforcement have been planning their strategy for months.

Part of that strategy is not granting special event permits for community events during the time the Hells Angels will be here, according to Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

The festival needed several special event permits, including permits for its popular parade and street dance, according to Ivan Hohnstadt, festival chair.

“We are trying to make sure that all our resources are available during that time period if anything were to happen,” said Brad Wick, the police department’s public information officer.

Spirit Valley Days — which has been held for more then 30 years and is West Duluth’s largest annual event — is traditionally the first weekend in August.

Instead the event kicks off Tuesday and continues through Saturday. It’s been expanded by two days this year to include more family events.

“It’s huge for the community,” Hohnstadt said of the festival that celebrates the neighborhood. “People plan their summer vacations around it. People fly in from around the country. The street dance is almost like a huge family reunion. They look forward to the street dance. They run into friends they haven’t seen for years.”

The chance of hundreds of Hells Angels motorcyclists crashing Spirit Valley Days’ popular street dance, which draws 3,000 to 5,000 people and where alcohol is sold, is a scenario the police want to avoid.

“We’re trying to eliminate any problems, any conflicts that arise,” Wick said.

The decision to move the festival up two weeks was made after news broke of the Hells Angels coming and organizers met with Duluth police officials.

“They need every officer in the city and county to be available for call to put down any potential problems,” Hohnstadt said.

Numerous officers usually work the street dance.

“It’s in the best interests of public safety,” Wick said of the festival change.

Although word is getting out that Spirit Valley Days will be held next week instead of the first weekend in August, many still don’t know, Hohnstadt said.

“A lot of people are surprised to learn it’s been moved up,” he said.

Park Rapids Enterprise

This news item is from White Trash Networks
( )