It’s Friday the 13th. Some feel it is an unlucky day and wish it  to be gone as quickly as possible. I am sure that is in no small part to a few (thousand?) horror movies back in the day, with titles of the same name. You know; “Friday the 13th”, “Friday the 13th Part 2”, “Friday the 13th Part V111: Jason Takes Manhattan”, “Freddy vs Jason”, and “Jason’s Gonna Get Ya!” Hmm, maybe not that last one, but there were a lot of films in the series, and they all created fear in the hearts of young minds in the 80s and 90s.

Skip forward to 2013 (oh! there’s a 13 in this year!) and Friday the 13th still holds fascination for many folks. You won’t find many movie stores left to rent a copy of any of those old horror films, but you can witness your own horror show a little closer than Crystal Lake. In fact, if you dare, you can jump in your car – or even better on the back of a motorcycle, and head East on Lake Erie about an hour. Once you get anywhere close, you’ll know where to go by the sounds of the motors rumbling around you. Still lost? You must not be from around these parts then, as anyone who has gone to this normally happy-go-lucky local beach town knows that Port Dover on Friday the 13th isn’t the place to go, unless you are looking to be surrounded by bikers.

Bikes only on these streets

The tradition for motorcycle enthusiasts to converge on Port Dover on Friday the 13th started back in November, 1981. Chris Simons gathered up a group of 25 friends and they whooped it up at the Commercial Hotel (now Angelos of Dover) on the 13th. They had such a good time that they decided to go back the next Friday the 13th as well. Word of mouth being what it is, the story got out and more people joined in the hoopla every year. They come rain or shine, all year long. And every year has at least one Friday the 13th, so there is a guaranteed party to go to for bikers every year! The last one was back in July 2012, so its been awhile since the brake stands have taken over Port Dover streets. I’m sure that will get rectified today though!

How many bikes do you see?

Now you don’t necessarily have to have a motorcycle to take part in Port Dover’s Friday the 13th celebrations. Everyone is welcome! In fact, instead of fighting the insurgence of motorcycles every year, Port Dover decided to cash in on the fun. Where the early days of Friday the 13th bike gatherings were relatively small, over the years the events in Port Dover have gotten exponentially bigger. In fact, last year’s July gathering set an unofficial attendance record of 140,000 people. Sure there were lots of motorcycles, but the smiles were plastered on people’s faces no matter how they got there.

This September should be no different. There will be motorcycles, food vendors, merchandise vendors, motorcycles, shuttles to get past police barricades to the main action, available camping, live music on the Budweiser Main Stage, and a few more motorcycles. People come from miles around to witness this unique phenomenon. In fact, there are those that come from across the globe to check out how this small town of only about 6,000 permanent residents handles the surge of motorcycles and people every Friday the 13th. It is quite the thing to behold. With Port Dover only 130 km away from London, Ontario, it is an easy trip to check out yourself.

I must warn you though. For those thinking about going; Earplugs might be handy.

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