Workers began erecting a large entertainment tent at the House of Harley-Davidson on Wednesday, one week before the biggest party Greenfield has every seen comes to town.
The House, 6621 W. Layton Ave., is expecting to host as many as 250,000 of its closest friends next week during its six-day celebration of Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary.
And the City of Greenfield is prepared.
Police Chief Brad Wentlandt said the city’s police and fire departments have been planning for the event since the start of the year, and had plenty of practice during the store’s 100th and 105th anniversary parties.
“The thing that’s different this year is they have a large stage with headliner entertainment, so we expect the crowds to be larger,” Wentlandt said. “But we’ve got a good plan in place.”
Wentlandt said his department didn’t have any major issues during the previous Harley celebrations in Greenfield, and doesn’t anticipate any Aug. 28 through Labor Day, Sept. 2.
Layton Avenue, from 60th to 64th Street, will be closed to traffic, starting Monday, giving the party planners and vendors two days to prepare the area. But businesses along that stretch will be accessible, Wentlandt said.
Gov. Scott Walker will be on hand for a pair of motorcycle rides from the House of Harley, and country music artists Chris Cagle, Casey James and Aaron Lewis are among the headlining acts.
There will be motorcycle parking at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehab and Greenfield High School.
“Our number one priorities is to be ambassadors for the city and to make sure we facilitate safe pedestrian and motorcycle safety around the event,” Wentlandt said. “We want to get these (motorcycle) rides in and out safely.”
Wentlandt said no emergency response times should be impacted despite the Layton Avenue closure or the beefed up police staffing at the event.
“The city is bisected by the freeway and all other major thoroughfares are all open,” he said.
“The biggest thing for the residents of Greenfield is slow down. Be aware (Layton) will be closed, use an alternate route and plan ahead.”
The police department set up changeable message signs on either end of the closure area reminding commuters the street will be closed starting next week, and has been issuing messages on Facebook and Twitter about the upcoming event.