Americade is coming to Bennington. Well, at least for a small part of it. Many of you are probably asking, “What is Americade?” Americade is a week-long motorcycle rally that is being held this year from Tuesday, June 7th to Saturday, June 11th in Lake George, NY.

This year Americade was voted the Best Annual Event in the Best of Lake George 2016 Contest. Every brand and style motorcycle is welcome: Harleys and Hondas, Yamahas and Suzukis, KTMs, Indians, Victorys and Ducatis. Aspencade (the original name of the event) was brought to Lake George in 1983 by a man named Bill Dutcher. Bill realized there was nothing that could compare to the Motorcycle Touring Rally that he visited in Ruidoso, NM. He gave his idea some thought and realized that the Lake George area was the perfect spot to put his dream into action offering great riding possibilities, attractions and a stunning view!

What started out as a “little” 4-day event exceeded expectations and has been followed by several years of growth with more industry leaders becoming interested in the event year after year. All types of riders, not just “tourers,” began attending and the North Country saw true benefit in having the event. Folks were showing up from as far away as New Zealand to take part in the now week-long activities.

Because of the immense popularity that the event was gaining, a decision was made to change the name to a more inclusive moniker from which Americade was selected. Now some 34 years later, the event is still growing, changing and improving to offer the best motorcycle vacation experience. Americade is not just another rally; it’s also a convention. There is much to do: Factory Demo Rides (more than any other rally in the US), shopping, entertainment, lots of rides, seminars, workshops and the list goes on. Folks coming in to Lake George can sign up at the Holiday Inn Turf for unlimited access to Americade’s HQ and EXPO. This year, Americade Week wraps up with a Saturday night (June 11th) concert open to the public in the new Lake George Festival Commons. It will be headlined by country star Craig Morgan and include two opening acts, Brandon Ray and Big Sky Country. Back in 1998, Bill Dutcher anticipated the event to attract 50,000 people.

Today, Americade is proudly known as "the world's largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally” drawing an estimated 100,000-200,000 visitors each year. Okay, but what does this have to do with Bennington, you ask. In a collaborative move, your Chamber reached out to the organizers of the Americade event and asked how we could get involved. Part of the festivities included in the weeklong event is the Scavenger Hunt that puts riders on their motorcycles to explore the rest of the surrounding region for each day. YES - Of course we signed up to be part of the day trip experience for these riders! What better way to showcase the region than to take a beautiful ride through Southern Vermont and on into Bennington! Through a blind lottery process of our interested members, three local Bennington business have been designated as stopping points for Americade’s Scavenger Hunt: The Bennington Bookshop, The Gift Garden and the BenningtonCenter for the Arts.

Congratulations to these three; we know you’ll represent us well! As hundreds of bikers make their way through our town during the week of June 7th, let us welcome them warmly with our Bennington hospitality. If any store or merchant would like a sign to welcome the bikers into our town please let us know at the chamber; we’d be happy to support and provide you with one – email me at or call 447-3311.

Let's make Bennington a place to which these wonderful people will want to come back to again and again. So let me be the first to say, “Welcome to Bennington, Americade Bikers.” Marie Shutts Operations Director Bennington Area Chamber of Commmerce *Editor’s note: Marie was the lead point person in exploring the Americade event, suggesting the partnership and working with the event to bring the bikers to Bennington