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A bit of a love affair is about to be renewed in Decatur this summer: The ABATE motorcycles will be returning.
It will be the third appearance here for the bikers and the first two, in 2010 and 2009, proved extremely popular with both the group and city residents.
American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) Regional Director Theresa Bodle was on hand at Tuesday night's Decatur City Council meeting to request permission to bring their Mayor's Ride and accompanying activities to the city on Sunday, June 2. Permission was readily granted.
The event is 28 years old, and the ABATE folks have moved the event from city to city over the years. But after first visiting here in 2009, Decatur has become a favored place.
"To be honest with you, everybody wanted to keep it here," Bodle — accompanied by three other ABATE members — told city council and Mayor John Schultz last night. "And now everybody is happy to be coming back. We've always been treated so well here."
"We're always trying to encourage people to come to Decatur and this is certainly a good way," Schultz said.
In 2010, Bodle remarked, approximately 1,200 riders took part.
As in the past, the group will congregate in Fort Wayne, then later head south and arrive in Decatur at approximately noon. Activities will be centered around the courthouse downtown for some four hours.
Bodle said the group is hoping to add more child-oriented activities this year. '"We want to make it more of a family thing."
ABATE will approve vendors who will be allowed to set up around the courthouse, but local restaurants may be open and possibly some retailers. "The restaurants have been great" in the past, Bodle noted
June 2 will also be a "flea market Sunday" at Riverside Center, which means even more people will be visiting the city.
Also as before, Bodle said the organization will pick out a youth group for cleanup duty and pay the group.
More details will be made available as organizing the visit takes shape.