In 2013 Thunder by the Bay became a 4 day festival and 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the popular Sarasota Motorcycle Festival and fund raiser for Suncoast Charities for Children.
Held annually in the downtown Sarasota
area for 18 years, in 2017 the event moved to nearby Lakewood Ranch and in 2018 it returns to downtown Sarasota for the Block Party and moves to the Sarasota County Fairgrounds for the two day festival part of the event.
A list of the 2018 Events Schedule is below including the live music rundown.
The festival now attracts, it has been reported, upwards of 40,000 fun and friendly revelers to the 4 day celebration.
It's also a more well mannered and refined event than, say, the annual raucous bike week that Daytona hosts every year.
And most years the festival takes place under sunny skies with near 80 degree temperatures. That makes it a fun outdoor event here on the Sarasota sun coast.
Looking back at past festivals: Some of the past celebrities who have helped to make the event more festive were nationally renowned bike builders Eddie Trotta, the Detroit Brothers, Kate O'Shea and Brad Ruel.
Plus there have been appearances by "The Romanator," featured on TV's A&E Network show, "Knievel's Wild Ride" and the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch" Captains Jonathon Hillstrand and Keith Colburn.
Just goes to show that you never know who you'll see here!
It's also a great opportunity to mix and mingle.
February 2, 2018: The festival's Sporting Clay Tournament complete with beer and bbq following the tournament. You can register as a team or individually. Registration gets under way at 11:30 a.m., start time is 1 p.m. Registration: $500 per team or $125 for an individual. The Knights Trail Range, 3445 Rustic Road, Nokomis, FL.
February 15, 2018: The “Born To Be Wild” Kickoff Party at Michael's On East Ballroom with an Open Bar, Food Stations, Silent Auction, 50/50 Raffle and a Thunder Saloon Theme and Live music featuring The U.S. Stones (Rolling Stones Tribute). Dress: Biker Casual and Biker Chic, / $150 PP 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. Michaels On East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota, FL.
February 16, 2018: The “Bikes On Main” Block Party from 7 p.m. - midnight with live music from Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio: 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. and The Billy Rice Band - 9:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Also taking place will be the “Light Up The Night” Bike Show from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. - $20 Per Bike, Trophies at 9:30 p.m. Free admission. Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, FL
February 17, 2018: It's the Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival Featuring Craft Beer, Cigars, Cornhole & Jenga, Food, Tented Seating Area, Lots of Vendors, Stunt Rider Shows, Biker Rodeo, the "Thunder Tap Room." Saturday's Music Line up: National Anthem & Bike Blessing: 11:45 a.m., The Boss Hawg Band: Noon - 1:30 p.m., Tobacco Rd. Band: 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., China Grove (Doobie Brothers Tribute): 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Diary of an Ozzman (Ozzy Osbourne Tribute): 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Featured headliner: Vegas McGraw (Tim McGraw Tribute) 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Free admission. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL.
February 17, 2018: The “Old Iron” Bike Show, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Registration $20 / Trophies at 4 p.m. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL.
February 18, 2018: The "Cruise for Cash" Charity Ride takes place from Sarasota Ford. Registration is 9:30 am - 11:30 a.m. $20 per rider with $4,000 in cash prizes! Sarasota Ford, 707 S Washington Blvd, Sarasota, FL.
February 18, 2018: It's the Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival Featuring Craft Beer, Cigars, Cornhole & Jenga, Food, Tented Seating Area, Lots of Vendors, Stunt Rider Shows, Biker Rodeo, the "Thunder Tap Room." Sunday's Music Line up: National Anthem & Bike Blessing: 11:00 a.m., Soul Circus Cowboys: 11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m., Alter Eagles (Eagles Tribute): 12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m., Headliner: The Bobby Friss Band: 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. Free admission.10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL.
February 18, 2018: There will be a “Miss Thunder By The Bay” Contest with Preliminaries at 2:45 p.m. and Finals at 5:15 p.m. and the Top 5 contestants receive cash prizes! Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL.
February 18, 2018: The 18 Class Bike Show, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Registration $20 / Trophies at 4 p.m. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL.
Contact number: Volunteer Hot Line: (941) 487-7904.
Plus there are food and drink vendors, bike builders and custom painters, clothes vendors and all kinds of motorcycle and biker-lifestyle related gear and clothes, plus live entertainment on several bandstands featuring a variety of music styles from rock, to country to..well, you get the idea.
Whether you are a “biker” or just a fan, it’s a fun time to walk around and “owww” and “ahhh” at the bikes on display.
This Festival in recent years has earned and donated over $190,000 and over its years has donated well over $725,000 to needy children and their families through Suncoast Charities for Children.
That's a long way from the first Thunder By The Bay Sarasota Motorcycle festival in 1998 when there were only 100 riders and they only raised $100.
The festival has grown over the years into a now large group of good and big hearted bikers who bring “Thunder” to Sarasota and its surrounding areas to kick-start each New Year.
Get more information about the 2018 Thunder By The Bay Sarasota Motorcycle Festival by calling the festival Volunteer Hot Line: (941) 487-7904 or by clicking here: 2018 Thunder By The Bay Sarasota Motorcycle Festival
We hope to see you at the next Thunder by the Bay, here in sunny Sarasota, Florida!