BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The 18th annual Barber Vintage Festival kicked off Friday. It’s the largest celebration of vintage motorcycle racing in the whole country.
This is a weekend full of exciting events and activities for vintage motorcycle fans of all ages.
Event coordinators said fans will be immersed into a world of racing, thrilling stunt shows, demo rides, food trucks, live music performances, and a kid zone for the little ones.
Nate Kern who’s racing with BMW said the festival is home to the most extensive, diverse collection of motorcycles that are actually functional and rolling around racetracks.
He said it’s amazing to see the wide variety of generations of bikes and added that there’s a large market for the nostalgia because it keeps history alive.
“There are still bikes running here from the 40’s, 50’s, 60s, but now the 90s are retro,” said Kern. “A younger crowd also I’m starting to notice which is really nice for the industry and a lot of that has to do with each manufacturer’s retro, café type bikes.”
Title sponsor BMW Motorrad is also celebrating their 100th anniversary this year by bringing in BMW Motorrad Days to America for the very first time at the Barber Vintage Festival.
Head of BMW marketing in the U.S. Luciana Francisco said BMW Motorrad days is usually celebrated in Europe, but they’ve wanted to host it here in America for some time because of their longtime partnership with Barber Motorsports and the U.S. is one of their most important markets worldwide.
Francisco says they will have over 40 bikes on display with some ready to test out.
“Ceasar 2 is the bike we are launching,” said Francisco. “We just launched in July, but people will be able to see this bike for the first time here at Motorrad Days and, as I said, to the R18, our biggest model. So all types of bikes. We have a sport bike, we have touring, electric bikes, scooters, and yeah, all of our line up is going to be here.”
Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams said the Barber Vintage Festival brings in between 65,000-75,000 people. Over 80 percent come from out of the state or country, and it has an economic impact of about $4.7 million.
Williams said what we have at Barber’s is truly a hidden gem right here in our city.
“With what they have in terms of being the largest motorcycle collection in the world as well as the Porsche and Mercedes and just really a first-class destination.”