Beachgoers and bikers: Memorial Day weekend to attract tens of thousands to Brevard County

County’s tourism office said Brevard lost $265 million from pandemic

Memorial Day weekend in Brevard County will sound like 40,000 motorcyclists.

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Memorial Day weekend in Brevard County will sound like 40,000 motorcyclists.

Organizers call the big bike rally starting Friday night Rolling Thunder, Ride for Freedom.

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“It will be the largest event that’s ever happened in Merritt Island related to veterans,’' Brevard County Veterans Council Chairman Donn Weaver said.

Bikers are riding for fallen veterans like Weaver’s son, Todd.

And tens of thousands of bikers riding the coast the next three days add to the thousands already coming to enjoy the beach.

Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Peter Cranis said Rolling Thunder follows recent busy weekends like the Cocoa Beach Air Show and the Thunder on Cocoa Beach powerboat races.

“Now, we’ve got Memorial Day weekend which is traditionally the kickoff of summer so we’re just excited about that,’' Cranis said.

The county’s tourism office said Brevard lost $265 million in visitor spending between March 2020 and February of this year. Next week, the Space Coast Office of tourism starts a new $2 million advertising campaign, its largest effort to attract guests since the pandemic.

Of course, Brevard’s big attraction still missing this weekend is the major cruise lines. Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking in Lakeland, Florida gave his latest comments on the state’s lawsuit against the CDC shutdown of the cruise industry. The lawsuit is currently in mediation with an order to strike a resolution by Tuesday,

“I am confident we will win the case,” the governor said.

Friday, the CDC approved Carnival’s restart plan for cruises from Port Canaveral. However, Carnival still has not announced a restart date. The tourism office believes the first cruise to return to Port Canaveral could be in July. The port itself said the first test cruise could be as soon as next month.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.