Bike Week is underway in Daytona Beach this week, a 10-day event that began last Friday and ends on Sunday, and was expected to draw at least 300,000 people despite the pandemic.
Chamber of Commerce officials said typical past attendance was upward of 400,000 to 500,000, but with concerns over the virus and the loss of income many have experienced, it was expected to be lower. However, good weather and the increase of vaccinations could drive the numbers up.
Apparently the City Council considered cancelling the event, but instead they pressed forward. While Florida does not have a mask mandate, officials asked residents and visitors to wear masks indoors. Some merchants were asked to limit indoor capacity to 60%.
“I spent some time on Main Street last week. I didn’t see many people masking up. The vast majority of the crowd was not,” police spokesman Messod Bendayan told CNN Tuesday.
One participant at Bike Week was arrested for aggressive panhandling and resisting arrest, spent the night in jail and was released the following day.
Robert Burck, also known as the Naked Cowboy, was taking photos with people approximately 10 feet away from the front door of a commercially zoned property, and that is how he violated the city’s panhandling ordinance.
A few days later he moved on to Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota where he was seen entertaining beachgoers, walking around singing and posing for pictures. Not everyone was happy to see him….
Sarasota County mounted deputies said they loved seeing Burck there every year. Burck says he has made the visit for the past 20 years. His usual gig is Times Square, but…. pandemic.
“It’s been a whole year of no one paying attention to me,” he said. “For the last year I’ve been working hard, but I don’t have the thrill of everyone wanting pictures of me. Now I’m back and then the police (in Daytona Beach) tell me I have to stop.”
Burck said he has been arrested at least 30 times over the years as the “Naked Cowboy” and is not fazed by his most recent brush with the law. In fact, nothing seems to faze him.
“You think there is anything stupider I can do than this?” he said.