GOWANDA - The 16th annual Hollywood Happening kicked off Friday evening as the parade of motorcyclists made their way down West Main Street to the Hollywood Theater. All sorts of models and makes were on display.
The bike parade started at Gowanda Harley Davidson, and from there they made their way to downtown Gowanda where spectators gathered to watch along the streets. The two lines of motorcyclists then made their entrance as they parked their motorcycles on West Main Street for people to glance at. Motorcyclists came from all over to take part in the event, according to chairman and entertainment coordinator, Dr. Dana Anderson.
"Usually there are around 140 motorcyclists, and it continues to get bigger and bigger," Dr. Anderson said. "We get people from Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, and Michigan. We've also had people come down from Ontario. Everybody likes the purpose of the whole event, which is a fundraiser to restore the Hollywood Theater."
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Dan Gernatt Jr. presents a check for the theater’s ongoing restoration during Gowanda’s Hollywood Happening opening ceremonies.
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Bikers and spectators get a close look at the many different bikes after the parade that kicked off the 16th Hollywood Happening in Gowanda.
Each year as the scores of bikers make their way to Gowanda for the parade, the theater continues to make progress with the continuing restoration process. Currently, work to restore the ceiling has taken place. The walls are in the early stages of plaster and paint work. Anderson believes the majority of the work will be done within 40 to 44 months.
"This project will end around the first of July (2017)," Anderson said. "We're hoping by the fall (2017) to start re-painting the rest of the way down. And then it will be a matter of seating."
Opening ceremonies followed the bike parade with several speakers, including Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills and Erie New York State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio. A native of Gowanda, Giglio expressed gratitude to everyone who took part in the parade along with the workers who made the event possible.
"We're almost there with the Hollywood Theater, which is a very noble effort, said Giglio. "I want to thank everybody on the board and the volunteers working the event this weekend."
Major sponsors were acknowledged, including Harley Davidson and the Reid Family, Seneca Gaming Corporation, and the other sponsors who are sponsoring events and concerts. Wolf's Run and Dan Gernatt Jr. of Gernatt Asphalt Products Inc. each made a donation to the theater's restoration.
Events at the Hollywood Happening continue through Sunday with performances by Barking Spiders, Turbulance, Wanted, a Bon Jovi Tribute Band, and The Everett Lee and the Underground Stampede.
Today, an AMVETS charity run will leave from the American Legion with their arrival taking place approximately between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. A tattoo contest will also take place at 3 p.m. Registration for the event will be held between 10 a.m. and noon.
Shows including a BMX show by the Eastern Action Sports Team and The Magical John Show will be featured daily. A ride-in-bike show will commence Sunday afternoon. Ending the 16th Hollywood Happening will be closing ceremonies. The ceremony includes the announcement of the 2014 motorcycle winner.
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