Dunn will be the host site for an overnight visit from over 1,000 bicyclists on Thursday. From all 50 states and three foreign countries, the bicycling enthusiasts began their trek in Black Mountain Saturday and have headed east for seven days. With overnight stops in Morganton, Mooresville, Archdale, Southern Pines, Dunn, Elizabethtown and a final stop at Oak Island, the group will travel 60 to 65 miles per day, although some have the option to take a slightly different route tallying up to around 100 miles per day.
The group will camp at Tart Park in Dunn for the night, where they will camp outdoors as well as inside on the gym floor. Some will have family follow them in RV’s while many will spend the night in local hotels. Shuttles from the park to the hotels, restaurants and downtown will run continually throughout the evening. A highlight for the evening will be the Boogie on Broad concert series with an event in downtown featuring The Tonez. The free concert will give the visitors a chance to mingle with the local citizens and enjoy the downtown restaurants and shops.
Sharon Stevens, the community marketing director at Dunn Area Tourism Authority, said, “We are excited to have the Cycle NC Group spend the night with us in Dunn. The economic impact this group will make at our local businesses is significant. One of the goals for this type of event is to give visitors an opportunity to see our beautiful countryside while doing something they enjoy. It also affords our locals to interact and show off our good southern hospitality. An event like this obviously could not be done without the great support of the City of Dunn’s Public Works, Police, Planning and Parks and Recreation departments as well as Dunn and Harnett County EMS, the Harnett County Sheriffs’s Office, N.C. Highway Patrol, Dunn Area Chamber of Commerce, Dunn PAL and the Erwin Police Department. Everyone working together to help make this a safe and successful journey for our visitors.”
The riders will leave Southern Pines that morning and begin their journey through the western Part of Harnett County with pit stops at Barbecue Church and the Bunnlevel Fire Department. They will arrive at Tart Part as early as 11 a.m. with the majority coming in from 2 to 4 p.m.. Everyone has to be at the campsite by 5 for check in.
Volunteers are needed between the hours of 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. to greet the groups as they roll in. If you would like to be a “Welcome Ambassador” at the park, contact the Dunn Area Tourism Authority at 910-892-3282.