Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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HOG rally coming to Expo

The Expo Center just announced that the Harley Davidson Owners Group will bring its annual rally and convention to Fredericksburg in June.

When I spoke to Expo owner Tom Ballantine a few weeks ago, he cited this event as an example of the kind of group he hopes to attract if the city agrees to grant him $300,000 for three years, a proposal council members could vote on Dec. 11.

This event was held in Williamsburg last year. It lasts three days, and is expected to draw 3,500 people from around the country. Those folks are expected to book up to 5,000 room nights in area hotels. Expo staff are estimating that direct taxes paid to the city as a result of this event will total somewhere in the $65,000 to $100,000 range.

The city’s tourism staff have apparently had to secure rooms at 19 hotels around the region to accommodate this event. The city also used $6,800 out of the opportunity fund the council approved this past summer to help bridge the gap between the rate the Harley group wanted and the rate Ballantine was willing to offer.

Even with that help, Ballantine says this will at best be a “break even” event for the center, but he says booking it is a “good-faith gesture,” and an example of the kinds of the events he plans to go after if the council agrees to give him the money. 

I’ve talked to a few folks in Williamsburg about the impact the event had there last year. Look for more in the paper tomorrow.