Conway’s downtown will be the center of a ROAR, a Riders of Arkansas Rally of thousands of motorcyclists as early as 4 p.m. today.

Activities surrounding the "family friendly biker rally" are scheduled, spanning today, Saturday and Sunday.

Organizers expect 4,000 motorcyclists to participate in the open rally, hosted by the Arkansas Bikers Aiming Towards Education, District 17.

David Hawks, rally organizer, said Parkway Avenue in Conway’s downtown will be closed for the weekend, for motorcycle traffic only, beginning at 2 p.m. today.

Hawks said a ROAR is held each year by ABATE, to raise money for a local nonprofit group. 

The group selected the Bethlehem House as the benefiting charity for the ROAR 2010, and a portion of revenue generated by rally activities, advertising and sales, will benefit the organization.

Hawks said the ABATE chapter had previously held rallies in Perryville and Clinton, but the group has expressed interest in holding the event in Conway.

"We talked with the Conway Chamber, and they asked if we’d think about moving it to Conway. We worked with the A and P Commission and decided Conway’s downtown would be a good place. It was a culmination of work between the Visitor’s Bureau and ArtsFest. It will all be in one weekend and we’ll bring the two together," Hawks said. "It will be interesting."

According to Hawks, Main Street, Front Street and Simon Park in downtown Conway would be devoted to bikers, vendors and rally activities.

The rally’s schedule begins with a Kick Start Party at 4 p.m. at Landers Toad Suck Harley-Davidson, the beginning location of a bike parade set to travel Harkrider and Front streets, and ending at Parkway Avenue.

The night’s activities include a performance at 7 p.m. by the Dirty Dozen Brass Jazz Band from New Orleans.

At 6:30 p.m., when bikers have found their way to Parkway Avenue, another parade will commence, led by the University of Central Arkansas Marching Jazz Band, followed by the Art Walk for Kids, a component of Conway’s downtown ArtsFest.

At 8 a.m., Saturday, vendors open and the rally will continue with the Volks Folks Car Show and the Arkansas Fallen Memorial Flag Field, both slated for Toad Suck Park at 9 a.m.

Downtown events for the morning include an antique bike show at Simon Park and biker games beginning at 10 a.m.

Bikers will move, from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., to Landers Toad Suck Harley-Davidson for contests, bike agility displays and entertainment.

A second procession of motorcyclists will lead the rally back to downtown for a performance by Breaking Eden at 7 p.m.

The rally will come to a close Sunday with a community-wide biker worship service and a Blessings of the Bikes at Simon Park at 9:45 a.m.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)