Honda Hoot Rolls Into Town

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Knoxville (WVLT) - It's that time of year again when you'll see and hear thousands of motorcycles rumbling through East Tennessee.

It's the 14th annual Honda Hoot, and it has officially kicked off.

Our Whitney Daniel takes a look at how the big event impacts Knoxville's economy.

A big celebration welcomed the week's visitors fifties style with a sock hop to Elvis tunes, complete with poodle skirts and lots and lots (and lots!) of bikers.

The event brings more than 17,000 bike enthusiasts into Knoxville and more than $23 million.

"It's just a great city... the people, the southern hospitality, the food, the roads, you name it, it's just a great place to be," Bill Savino from the Honda Rider's Club of America said.

Just a few of the reason's Knoxville ranks number one for these bikers.

"We're expecting about 17,000 motorcycle enthusiasts and this is great for the city of Knoxville and Knox County because the economic impact is so large," said Sarah Malak of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation.

About $23.1 million "large."

"Stay in our hotels, and they have to eat while they're here and spend money in our restaurants and go shopping and have fun while they're here," Malak said.

Fun is just the beginning of it.

"Countryside is beautiful, lots of real pretty rides," said Judy and Phil Stone from South Carolina.

People come from near and far to take part in the Hoot, so whether the weather cooperates or not

"We brought our rain suits, ready to go!" the Stones said.

It's sure to be a success.

"Knoxville opens its arms to us," Savino said.

And by hosting a big event like the Honda Hoot, it's opening the door to big business in the future too.

"Other large scale events will see that the Honda Hoot is here, and they will want to come even more. We've got a great city here and southern hospitality, great venues such as Chilhowee Park and lots of hotels," Malak said.

It's those amenities that draw a crowd.

"You'll have people from a day's drive six, seven hours out come in for just the day and hang out," Savino said.

And you don't have to enjoy riding to enjoy all the events.

"I know people will come to the event, they'll go to Chilhowee Park and hang out for the day, they may be into motorcycles by the time they leave there," Savino said.

There are several events planned for the week beginning Wednesday morning, and next year you can expect a huge celebration as the Honda Hoot marks it's 15th year.

The last seven of those have been spent in Knoxville.

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