|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2011)|
Americade is a week-long motorcycle rally that is held during the first full week of June. The headquarters and location of many rally activities are in Lake George village, New York. The event is open to all motorcyclists and brand and type of motorcycles, and in recent years attracts over 50,000 people annually. Americade is billed by its organizer as the "World's Largest Motorcycle Touring Rally", and is distinguished from events such as Daytona Bike Week by its emphasis on touring and by its organization.
Attendees participate in demo rides from all of the major manufacturers, boat cruises, motorcycle judging, and group rides called "MiniTours" to various destinations in New York and Vermont.
Americade also offers a large motorcycle trade show, TourExpo, located in two locations in Lake George: Million Dollar Beach and The Forum.
May 1983 was the first "cade" in the east coast. Veteran motorcyclist Bill Dutcher, and a small staff, hosted "Aspencade East" in Lake George, NY. The event's headquarters were at Roaring Brook Ranch, from which most of the demo rides departed.
The TourExpo tradeshow was held at the Glens Falls Civic Center, approximately 10 miles (16 km) to the south. This first event drew over 2,000.
Since 1971, there had been an Aspencade touring motorcycle rally in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The name came from an annual civic festival, which celebrated the changing colors of the aspen (birch) trees. Dutcher arranged with Aspencade organizer Til Thompson to use the Aspencade name for the eastern touring rally.
In 1986, "Aspencade East" became "Americade," because the new name better signified the multibrand national-sized rally it had become. By 1986, total attendance at this event was nearly 10,000. The name Americade was suggested by the organizer's wife, Gini Dutcher.
By 1986, the TourExpo tradeshow had been relocated to Lake George village, to keep it closer to the motels and riding activities. Initially located halfway down Beach Road in a large gravel parking lot, in 1994 TourExpo was relocated to the larger, dust-free quarters, which it now occupies at Million Dollar Beach Parking Lot. This facility is owned by the State of New York, from which Americade and TourExpo rent this property.
In 2004, TourExpo expanded the tradeshow to include The Forum, Lake George's newly built convention center, providing more room for the Americade's TourExpo tradeshow.
Staff and volunteers
Along with 10 full-time, year round employees, over 220 volunteers help staff the event during Americade Week. The volunteer staff assists with numerous hospitality, tour escort, and competition administration duties.
Entering the Americade event of 2008, New York State Police had set up several "safety check points" on the major roads leading into the event. Amber alert signs were placed on the highways which read "Motorcycles – exit right", which directed motorcycle traffic to police inspection points. Police helicopters were in the air nearby, in case someone attempted to outrun the police. All told there were approximately 200 citations issued, principally for documentation (registration, inspection), insurance, helmets and loud, custom exhaust systems.
A few riders, none of whom were registered attendees at the Americade event, subsequently expressed that they felt singled out and threatened not to return in several of the local newspaper editorial sections.
During the Americade event of 2009, checkpoints were set up at an Interstate 87 rest stop and on Route 9 during the rally. Warren County sheriff's deputies issued 84 tickets for unapproved helmets, 19 for modified exhausts and 32 other vehicle and traffic violations. New York State Police made additional unspecified criminal arrests.
Prior to the Americade event in 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation informed the organizers of Americade it would increase the fee it charges the event to occupy the parking lot behind the Million Dollar Beach from $52,000 to $90,312. This prompted the organizers of the event to begin courting other locations, including some in Vermont. Community leaders in the Lake George area have expressed how important this event is to their economic survival.
- "About Americade". TourExpo. Archived from the original on 2 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- "2007 AMA Premier Touring Series". American Motorcyclist Association. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- "Americade checkpoints yield several helmet violations". Albany Times Union. June 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-14.[dead link]