Lakeland, FL (September 30, 2015) – Harley-Davidson Motor Company announced today that the 2016 Florida Harley-Davidson Owners Group (H.O.G.) Rally will be held in Polk County. The event, which is expected to draw between 1,700 and 1,800 participants, will be held on Tuesday, October 25 through Saturday, October 29.
Held in a different destination each year, the annual Florida H.O.G Rally brings together members of the Haley-Davidson Owners Group to enjoy guided motorcycle rides, area attractions, local entertainment and the camaraderie of other Harley-Davidson owners in a festival-like atmosphere. Each day of the Rally guided tours will take groups of riders along Polk County’s scenic roads to experience places of interest and area attractions. Other activities during the rally will include motorcycle drill team competitions, vendor expo, motorcycle games, riding demonstrations and concerts featuring local and national acts. The Harley-Davidson owners group is an official membership program of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company and all events associated with the H.O.G. Rally are available exclusively to H.O.G. members and one guest, admission to the general public is not allowed.
The 2016 Florida H.O.G. Rally is expected to generate more than 5,000 room nights in area hotels and vacation rental homes and the expected economic impact to the local economy is estimated at more than $1.3 million. The host hotel for the 2016 Florida H.O.G. Rally is the Hilton Garden Inn in Lakeland, with the hub of most rally activities being on the Sun N Fun campus.
Visit Central Florida drove the recruitment efforts that secured the event for Polk County. Over the last five months Visit Central Florida staff worked in conjunction with the H.O.G. Rally Organizing Committee to visit several potential event venues, and possible host hotel properties, to assure that all of the logistical requirements for the event could be accommodated. Visit Central Florida also worked with the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Polk County Board of County Commissioners and the City of Lakeland to garner each organization’s support in executing an event that will impact all areas of Polk County.
“I am looking forward to welcoming all of the H.O.G. members to the 2016 Rally,” said Polk County Commissioner George Lindsey. “As a Harley-Davidson rider, and a long-time H.O.G member, I have experienced some of the most scenic rides in America and I am excited for all the participants to ride Polk County’s picturesque orange-tree lined roads, discover all of our great attractions and the wonderful local restaurants throughout our county.”
Over the last two months Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing has announced that a number of organizations, such as the Miss Florida Pageant, Military Order of the Purple Heart, US Quidditch South Regional Championships and the Military Officers Association of America, will be holding major events and conferences in Polk County with total economic impacts of more than $2.5 million in 2016.
“Today’s announcement by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company follows directly on the heels of several recruiting successes that will bring large events that will have significant economic impact in communities all across Polk County,” said Mark Jackson, Director of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. “It shows that our aggressive strategies to go out and recruit a diverse portfolio of events to be held in Polk County are paying dividends.”