Around the end of every September, Fayetteville plays host to Bikes, Blues, and BBQ, an enormous biker rally. And while motorcycles don't get me hot and heavy, in theory, I love the latter. I'm all about some blues and BBQ - unfortunately it's cheap festival barbecue (not that slow, southern lovin' variety) and typically a high quantity of mediocre Journey cover bands. It's great for the bikers having fun, the local businesses earning additional revenue, and whatever charity is being sponsored that year (the Children's Safety Center was this year's so, obviously, I'm a big fan). Having said that, there's always at least one biker that gets hurt in a(n easily avoidable) wreck. Some businesses actually experience a decline in revenue. And despite being billed as the US's largest charity rally, it's not uncommon for the event to earn as little as $0.15 per attendee. Perhaps the choice word "largest" merely represents the thousands upon thousands of attendees, and not how much charitable giving they're actually doing.
Worst of all, our little Arkansan town gets a taste of what living in a tourist city is like. The locals hate this festival. The traffic is so congested; it's evident that the rally has outgrown all of Northwest Arkansas as the bikes purr up and down even the smallest of streets, all the north to Eureka Springs and south to Fort Smith. The noise is deafening; if not the revving of a hundred thousand bikes alone then it's the sound of aforementioned Journey cover bands blaring through closed windows into houses miles away.
You just can't escape it if you stay in town. You either board up your windows, blare your own decent blues and slow cook your own BBQ, or you join them, for better or for worst. I moved to Fayetteville only a week after BBBBQ my first year, and I attempted to have fun at the festival the next couple of years. I'm not even a claustrophobic type of person but that's precisely how I felt when I joined in, suffocating in denim and leather and watery drinks at my favorite bars, unable to hold a conversation with whoever I was with over the roaring sounds on Dickson. But it does make you think about the potential our town has to hold a real charitable rally, without the confederate flags waving about.
So this year we escaped.
|But not before shooting a few rounds with his neglected bow first.|