Harley revs its engine

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About 130,000 people will flood the Milwaukee area as Harley-Davidson Inc. celebrates its 110th anniversary this week.

Those Harley fans are expected to spend more than $20 million in Milwaukee and the four surrounding counties, said Jeannine Sherman, director of public relations at VISIT Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee party is the culmination of a year-long, global celebration.

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Events officially begin on Thursday morning with 2014 model demo rides and factory tours at the Menomonee Falls powertrain operations facility. A kick-off celebration will be held at 6 p.m. at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

Major concerts will headline the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee each night, two UFC fights will be held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and several street parties will close area streets in the evenings. A parade will make its way through downtown on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

High temperatures of more than 90 degrees are expected for most of the week.

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“It’s been an amazing ride around the world for our 110th. And, now we’re bringing the party home,” said Harley-Davidson chief marketing officer Mark-Hans Richer. “What better way to cap off this year-long adventure than by hosting the biggest party in America over Labor Day weekend, right here in our hometown with thousands of our family and friends? It’s going to be epic.”

One anniversary tradition is the welcoming home of thousands of riders from around the world by Milwaukee area residents who stand on the city’s highway overpasses with homemade welcome signs as riders arrive in Milwaukee.

Fans can pick up free Harley-Davidson Welcome Home banners at the Harley-Davidson Museum and at local Harley-Davidson dealerships, including Hal’s Harley-Davidson, House of Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson and Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson.

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There are two ticket options for the Summerfest Grounds, where fans can see as many as 60 entertainers, including ZZ Top, Bret Michaels, Cowboy Mouth, the Doobie Brothers, Dropkick Murphys, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Brantley Gilbert, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and The Gaslight Anthem.

Three-day tickets are priced $95 plus convenience fees, and they provide access to all of the events from Thursday, Aug. 29, through Saturday, Aug. 31.

Two-day tickets are priced at $79 plus convenience fees and provide access to any two days of the three-day party.

Tickets for the headlining performances, including Toby Keith (Aug. 29), Rock-n-Roll Hall-of-Famers Aerosmith (Aug. 30) and Kid Rock (Aug. 31) are also available at www.h-d.com/110tickets.

Milwaukee-area lodging is still available, but selling out quickly. For more information about events and lodging, visit a new website launched by VISIT Milwaukee: www.VisitMilwaukee.org/h-d110.

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