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The 95th birthday Procession

    The huge turn out for the Harley Davidson 90th birthday bash took everybody a bit by surprise. Well over 100,000 came to visit. The 95th was even bigger, but  people at least had some idea of what to expect.  As with the 90th, the town was virtually taken over by the celebrants. Motorcycles could be seen and more importantly, heard everywhere. Streets were closed off to become gigantic parties all over town. I do hope that everyone went home happy.
    The Parade for the 95th had to use a somewhat different route, due to road construction on Wisconsin Avenue.  For the 95th, the parade began  at the freeway ramp above 10th street, and proceeded down Michigan Avenue to Milwaukee Street. The route then followed Milwaukee Street nearly to the river, and turned east to end near the Summerfest grounds.

In  truth, the parade began at the State Fair grounds, about ten miles west of the downtown area. There were a number of people stationed on overpasses, and ramps with signs or just waving hands, as the bikers took the ten mile trip down the blocked off freeway. Still, for most observers, this is where the start was, the freeway off ramp at the western end of downtown.

People line the streets, all the way up to the ramp. Part of the freeway overpass system can be seen here. Many of the bikers decided to watch, rather than ride in the parade, their bikes are lined up behind the spectators.

Spectators are not the only bikers on the scene. Traffic officers of the Milwaukee Police Department are kept very busy controlling the crowds, blocking off streets, and channeling the visiting celebrants.

Crowds on the freeway ramp meet crowds of spectators alongside the ramp. The scene was very crowded and noisy.

People jam the sidewalks, and the streets when they can get away with it. Police are stationed to protect the bikers from the affections of the crowd.

On and on they come. The ramp was full of bikes for several hours. Thousands wished to ride in the parade, tens of thousands lined the streets to watch.

Police and sheriffs are stationed on the ramp to keep spectators and vehicles from impeding the already slow progress of the procession. The freeway is closed for the duration.

More lonely guardians stand their vigil. These officers are stationed at various parts of the parade route, but are particularly concentrated at the ramp.

A block or so down from the ramp, and the parade is still just getting started. we are opposite the Milwaukee Insurance Company building.

And so it goes, spectators, bikers, camcorders, and costumes in abundance.

Flags MIA banners, and patriotic themes dominate much of the pageant. Observers inch their way up onto buildings, gutters, and past the police line tapes.

Passing eighth street, we are approximately five blocks into the parade route. City workers, auxiliary police, and volunteers station themselves to keep the crowds back.

They come, we watch, getting as close as we think we can get away with.

A very enthusiastic cheering section shouts encouragement, and waves at the passing throng.

Many of the participants are tourists too, and are kept busy capturing their own memories of the event.

The parade riders wave back at the jubilant crowds. This is only the start, and the riders have several twists and turns to negotiate. They are still unaware of just how many people are lining the route.

Many of the parade participants dress up. Patriotic themes are very popular in this celebration of the longevity of America's sole remaining motorcycle producer.

This man looks every inch a Harley rider. I do wonder how he manages to keep the cigar lit.

New age bikers. A bit of the sixties, mixed with a bit of the new millennium.

Old line bikers, just out to have some fun, and do some riding.

This couple seems to have picked up a extra passenger. Perhaps he is there to keep the crowds at bay.
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