FULTON – Harleys, Indians, Hondas. Just about every make of motorcycle roared into Fulton on Sunday afternoon for the annual Blessing of the Bikes.
“I don’t know how many bikes are here,” said event founder Jules Meiners, of Fulton. “I have to find a couple of kids to get them counted.”
A sunny and hot Sunday brought out plenty of bikes for the event, which raises funds for the local food pantry and is sponsored by A.B.A.T.E (A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) of Iowa, District 21.
More than 260 motorcycles lined up along the “main drag” in the downtown under a giant American flag hoisted high in the air by a Fulton firetruck.
“Last year, we were able to buy this big, beautiful flag with your donations,” Meiners told the crowd before the blessing. “Our 50/50 drawing will help our local food pantry.”
This year’s winner of the 50/50 donated all but $10 of his $240 share, back.
Meiners started the event close to 20 years ago.
“We started in my driveway. We got so big we moved up to the main drag,” she said. “This is just a way to bless the bikes for a safe riding season.”
Several local clergymen were on hand to bless the bikes, including the Rev. Matthew Camaioni, with the Immaculate Conception Church in Fulton.
The bikes are considered tools of a trade, he said.
“We ask God to watch over them and their riders.”