Motorcycle enthusiasts from around world began to converge on Milwaukee to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson with food, blaring music, and touring the company's museum.
Visitors were also dropping big bucks, some from $26,000 to $32,000, on the two-wheelers sold during the celebration, which will last through the weekend, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage of Harley-Davidson's 110th anniversary.
Visitors from Indonesia, Argentina, Germany, Japan and Mexico were just a few counted by Harley-Davidson spokesman Mark-Hans Richer on Thursday as festivities began, wrote the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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A nearby dealership, in the meantime was doing brisk business with body-painted models, mud wrestling and a swim-up bar, according to the newspaper.
"We do it with the intention of following the 'living life' brand of Harley-Davidson," said dealership spokeswoman Sarah Murphy. "We would not suggest families come to this particular event, but we have many other family-friendly events throughout the year."
The celebration got off to a heavenly start on June 16, when Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons and its riders in Vatican City in connection with the 110th anniversary, The Associated Press
In true Harley style, the roaring motorcycle engines nearly drowned out the Latin recitation of the "Our Father" prayer that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Mass.
Bill Davidson, the great-grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson helped give away a new 2014 Project Rushmore motorcycle to Marine 1st Sgt. Timothy LaSage on Thursday at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Davidson told LaSage the gift was for his service to the country. LaSage received two Purple Hearts while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Somalia, Haiti and the Philippines, according to the AP.
Toby Keith, country music's top-grossing performer, headlined the Harley-Davidson kickoff concert at the Marcus Amphitheater Thursday night.
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Carlos Muñoz, 62, said he drove 1,600 miles from Cancun, Mexico with 10 friends to join in the Harley-Davidson celebration.
"I am amazed ... bewildered. ... I just didn't expect this," Muñoz said to the newspaper. "It is all just starting, but it is only going to get better, and even more fun."
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