Bikers gather for Milwaukee Rally for Harley Davidson over Labor Day weekend

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Motorcyclists from southeastern Wisconsin and beyond are descending upon the Milwaukee area all weekend long. The Milwaukee Rally for Harley Davidson is one of the few large local events that has not been canceled due to COVID-19.

House of Harley Davidson is expecting thousands of bikers over the course of the holiday weekend. Between the live music and the vendors, most of the events are being kept outside. 

Bikers tell CBS 58 they are just glad to get out of their houses for this Labor Day weekend. It is a weekend many of them have looked forward to for months, even though it has been scaled back. 

"Unfortunately this is a lot more condensed than we've seen in the past, but it's great to be out with my fellow riders," Frederick Franklin said.

The sense of camaraderie is in full throttle.

"I've been walking around. I've seen people from Kentucky, Ohio, people from all over the state, and to me, this is like a family reunion of sorts," said Kevin Carpenter, assistant director of the Milwaukee HOG Chapter.

Some out-of-towners are hoping to experience the Milwaukee-based company in all of its leather glory. 

"Being based from here, headquartered here, it's kind of a ride of passage to come here and go to the museum, see Juneau — the factory where it all began," said Mark McClain, House of Harley Davidson’s director of business development. 

House of Harley Davidson has asked riders to maintain social distancing, but they are leaving it up to each person to decide for themselves whether they want to wear face masks. Bikers said they feel the precautions are fair and they are just happy for the chance to be on the open road. 

Health officials have confirmed that COVID-19 cases and one death have been linked to a large motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. 

Organizers of the Milwaukee Rally said it is a regionalized rally, while Sturgis was a national rally. 

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