Cure for April snow: Beach party and motorcycles

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Nelson Plourde, left, Gary Pratt and Colleen Anderson share a laugh at the L-A Harley-Davidson dealership for the April 1 beach party on Saturday. Partygoers said the tropical theme was a good distraction from the April 1 snowstorm outside.

LEWISTON — What do you do when it’s April 1 and snowing?

Go to a place to talk about warm weather, getting outing in the sun and riding again.

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Since spring isn’t showing up on time, L-A Harley-Davidson owner John Storey delivered the next best thing Saturday: some sounds, sights and talk of warmer weather at a “beach party” in the showroom.

The band Graffiti played “Margaritaville.” On a dance floor, couples swayed. Shea Godbout of Lewiston danced with her niece, Melia Godbout, 4.

The fashion was motorcycle garb, Hawaiian shirts and leis.

There was an inside barbecue, beer and tropical drinks.

Everyone was itching for spring.

“It sucks!” Nelson Plourde of West Gardiner said of Saturday’s snow. “We’re ready to ride. We’re ready for summer weather.”

Attending the beach party is a good remedy for cabin fever, said friend Joe Frederickson of Gardiner.

Nearby Dan Carroll of Auburn was holding a fruity drink and wearing a Hawaiian shirt. The snow “is ridiculous!” Carroll said. “It makes a mess. I’m anxious for spring.”

The beach party “puts you back in the spirit,” he said. “That’s why I’m drinking an island drink with coconut rum and pineapple.”

People are missing their bikes, dreaming of getting out on the road and riding, Storey said.

He throws a couple of beach parties a year. It gets riders together, he said.

“People like it,” he said.

To hold the party, nearly 100 bikes had to be removed from the showroom, although there were shiny Harleys everywhere. The Lewiston dealership is in the top three percent of Harley dealerships nationally, Storey said. “We’re 20th out of 591 dealers in the nation,” he said.

Saturday’s snow prompted a lot of people to come out.

By 5 p.m., “we’ve had over 400 people come in so far,” Storey said. “It’s crazy.”

Snow covering branches and trees Saturday morning was beautiful, he said. “But people are done with it. It’s April!”

Before motorcycle riding happens again, “a lot of things have to happen first,” he said. “The snow has to stop. It has to rain to clear all the sand off the roads. We need a couple of weeks of rain before we can start riding.”

As he spoke, suddenly horns started blaring. Music by AC/DC rocked the showroom.

Pam Schultz of Appleton smiled and sat on a new Harley like a rockstar, being congratulated by the crowd. She had just bought a new bike.

“This weather sucks,” she said. “It made me come out and buy a new bike,” she said.

Randy and Jennifer Cyr of Lisbon Falls were studying motorcycles.

“She’s going for her license,” Randy said of his wife. “This is the one she’s sold on. It’s low, so she can put her feet on the floor.”

Talking about snow, “we’re so over it,” he said, adding they’re planning a trip to Florida. “We need some Vitamin D.”

While Saturday’s snow was discouraging, “it’s not a big deal. We live in Maine. Most of it will melt tomorrow,” Joe Frederickson of Gardiner said.

As he spoke, the band played “When the Sun Goes Down.”

Randy and Jennifer Cyr of Lisbon Falls look at a new motorcycle Saturday. Saying they need some sun, the two were among hundreds attending a “beach party” during an April 1 snowstorm Saturday at L-A Harley-Davidson.

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