A popular York City event that brings thousands of motorcycles and visitors downtown will be held a week earlier than usual this year.

The 18th annual Bike Night will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, when two-wheelers leave the York Expo Center and follow a parade route into the city, where music and vendors are featured in Continental Square until 10 p.m.

"Streets are buzzing," said Mary Yeaple, coordinator for York City events for IO Creative Group.

Bike Night is typically held the last Friday in September. This year it will be held on the third Friday of the month because Harley-Davidson is also hosting its annual Open House a week earlier.

"Harley's Open House always dictates Bike Night," Yeaple said.

The Open House, hosted annually at Harley-Davidson's York Vehicle Operations in Springettsbury Township, is being held a week earlier because of the end of the third quarter of the fiscal year, according to company spokeswoman Bernadette Lauer.

"It's a week earlier to meet business needs. We want to ensure we have enough employees to manage the Open House and build bikes," she said.

Open House will be held from Thursday, Sept. 19, through Saturday, Sept. 21.

The manufacturer is still ironing out details for the event, she said, but it will include vendors, free factory tours and other entertainment attractions.

Open House also typically includes motorcycle demo rides and free admission.


The impact: The combination of Harley's Open House and York City's Bike Night has a positive economic impact on the county, according to Allison Freeman, spokeswoman for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"It does bring in a lot of people, and it's something York is known for," she said.

Yeaple estimated Bike Night draws "several thousand" visitors to the city, and last year 2,000 motorcycles were in the parade.

In a travel study used by the visitors bureau, Harley-Davidson was cited by respondents as what makes York County unique, Freeman said.

"It's something that definitely brings people in and gets them downtown, so the bike events are always a good thing," she said.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.