Mayor of Port Dover, Ont. tries to cancel motorcycle rally; party roars on anyway

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For 40 years, the Friday the 13th motorcycle rally in little Port Dover, Ont., has been a grand tradition, occurring every Friday the 13th (in other words, once, twice or three times per calendar year).

Thousands of bikers descend on Port Dover on these Fridays to have a good time regardless if it’s rain or shine, sweltering hot or freezing cold.

But this year, Kristal Chopp, the mayor of Norfolk County, did her best to cancel the Friday the 13th celebration.

First of all, she laughably declared the gathering a “non-event.” Alas, when we arrived on the scene, it was clear that thousands of bikers did not get that particular memo — they converged upon Port Dover nevertheless. (Meanwhile, we wonder if Mayor Chopp is going to declare gravity and the Earth’s rotation around the sun “non-events” as well?)

Yet, why did Mayor Chopp reinvent herself as a wannabe party-pooper? Well, it’s all about COVID-19 safety protocols, of course!

Here’s what Her Honour told CityNews: “Holding to provincial regulations now in Ontario, we’re limited to 100 people for an outdoor gathering. What that means is that we have not issued any vending permits — there are no beer tents, there is no big entertainment that would have normally been set up.”

She added that camping and parking outside of town would be verboten (and enforced by diligent bylaw officers, of course). And the shuttle that typically brings people into town from those sites was also cancelled.

Wow. This mayor seems more fun than the proverbial barrel full of monkeys…

Still, Chopp’s tone-deaf attitude speaks volumes. Friday the 13th is like Christmas Day in Port Dover. Merchants — who have been devastated this past year and a half thanks to the lockdowns — welcome the influx of bikers. There is considerable money to be made on these weekends. But then again, why would Mayor Chopp care about the private sector? Like every other politician and bureaucrat, Chopp hasn’t lost a day’s worth of salary during the pandemic — in fact, many of these folks voted to give themselves raises.

And how is it that late last month the Toronto Blue Jays were granted a “national interest exemption” to allow 15,000 fans into SkyDome to watch baseball games, yet people converging outdoors in Port Dover makes for a supposed “super-spreader” event? (Perhaps attendees should’ve worn BLM T-shirts; no doubt Mayor Chopp would’ve not only endorsed the event but taken part in it as well.) Please, please — can someone explain the “science” at play here?

In any event, bikers tend to be made of sturdy stuff. And some pencil-neck politician screaming that the sky is falling did not deter thousands of motorcycling enthusiasts from taking part in this beloved event on a gorgeous summer day. And as we prepared to leave Port Dover, a sublime lime green chopper roared past us, its stereo blaring the Twisted Sister song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” — which is surely an unofficial anthem for those Canadians who are sick and tired of debilitating lockdowns and restrictions. Mayor Chopp: take note.

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