Lone Star Rally Day 3

Hundreds of people walk around 23rd Street and The Strand during the third day of the Lone Star Rally that took place in Galveston on Nov. 2, 2019.


Lone Star Rally, the motorcycle event that attracts more than 500,000 people yearly and holds the spot as one of the island’s largest festivals, has been postponed until November 2021.

The announcement came Wednesday as coronavirus cases continue to increase in Galveston County and the Houston region. And it marks the first major festival to bow out of Galveston’s shoulder season, the period between summer and spring during which the island economy depends on special events drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Lone Star Rally made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in a statement from promoter Melissa Penland.

“With respect for the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the best interest of the city of Galveston’s residents, our patrons, sponsors and entertainers, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Lone Star Rally this year,” Penland said.

The festival, which was scheduled to run from Nov. 5 to Nov. 8, has been pushed back to Nov. 4 through Nov. 7 of 2021, Penland said. Because of dates of other motorcycle events planned for next year and the dates that work for the city of Galveston, it doesn’t make sense to hold the event earlier in the year, Penland said.

“We have been closely monitoring local and regional news updates and discussing potential safety and health issues with city officials,” Penland said. “With so much information changing daily, we believe it would be difficult to ensure a safe and fun event for everyone to enjoy.”

In early June, Penland had said organizers were tentatively planning to move ahead with the festival but were keeping an eye on case levels.

A study of the 2016 Lone Star Rally estimated the festival has an economic benefit of about $115.6 million for the city in hotel bookings, restaurant tickets, retail shopping and other revenue.

Galveston has hosted the Lone Star Rally event since 2003.

Lone Star Rally isn’t the first big festival to cancel.

The Sandcastle Festival, hosted by the American Institute of Architects in Houston, announced last month it would postpone its August festival until 2021 over concerns that participants couldn’t practice social distancing and that the firms that normally participate wouldn’t want to this year.

The city of Galveston isn’t issuing permits for special events through the end of July over concerns about spreading the virus.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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(7) comments

Doug Sivyer

Wise choice

Wayne D Holt

"With respect for the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the best interest of the city of Galveston's residents, our patrons, sponsors and entertainers, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Lone Star Rally this year," Penland said.

It's interesting this decision apparently originated with the promoter and not the City of Galveston. And it's more than disconcerting to realize "the best interest of the city of Galveston's residents" was assured in this instance not by the people we pay our taxes to every year but to a third-party.

Makes you wonder what it would take to get the City engaged enough to have the same level of concern as those running a Florida production company.

Bailey Jones

I imagine there was a phone call or two involved. Just like today - when most of our July vacation rental bookings vanished - we agreed with their decisions, but they initiated the cancellations. Better to have 200,000 bikers upset with the rally organizers than the city.

Jake Swanson

Dude you got what you wanted. What is it going to take for you to be happy? LSR cancelled. You win. Just shut up and enjoy it.

Walter Dannenmaier

2021? How can we be sure that is safe! I think that 2030 would be much safer. By then we can force all small businesses to close, if we just maintain our focus.

noah page

The motorcycle event is nothing more than the kappa beach party weekend downtown. Way to cleanup your act galveston. good decision. the dickens event should be cancelled also.

Connie Patterson

This was cancelled by event coordinator not the city...always helpful to read the article first

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