Harley riders' destination: Milwaukee bash

If Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Aerosmith and some Ultimate Fighting sound like the perfect way to celebrate Harley-Davidson's birthday, well, they are.

Every five years, the Milwaukee-based company throws itself a birthday bash, and this year's event, celebrating its 110th birthday, will feature those blue-collar luminaries. Give the company credit for knowing its constituency.

"It's definitely a Harley happening, and it is epic in size," said Bill Davidson, vice president of the Harley-Davidson museum, whose great-grandfather, William A. Davidson, was one of the company's founders.

Expected to attract more than 100,000 motorcycle lovers, the event will be spread across several locations from Aug. 29-Sept. 1, which is Labor Day weekend. The anniversary parties began in 1988 with the company's 85th.

"The longer we're around, the bigger we get," Davidson said. "One hundred ten years is an epic celebration."

The bash will include a broad array of events, including dozens more bands (mostly at Milwaukee's Summerfest grounds along Lake Michigan), a museum exhibit, a bike rally and an early look at the company's 2014 models. For the first time, Harley will allow guests to take those bikes out for test rides.

The company also has had 110th anniversary celebrations this year in Auckland, New Zealand; Barcelona, Spain; Goa, India; Margate, South Africa; Mexico City; Rome; and Sao Paulo, among others. But the Milwaukee event is the biggest.

"Our customers love these epic events, and it gives them a great reason to ride and come celebrate in the hometown of Harley-Davidson," Davidson said.

Tickets and more information are available at h-d.com/110.

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