May 23, 2024

Letter From The Owners – October 2023

If you attended the 19th Annual Freedom Fest over Labor Day weekend you will probably agree that it was one of the largest attended weekends they have had in the past few years. And for good reason. Rich & Brenda, from the Iron Horse Bar & Grill have proudly promoted it as “Home to Michigan’s LARGEST Labor Day weekend bike run!” and it has lived up to that statement for many, many years. With the help of friends, family, and all the necessary sponsors, it lived up to it again this year. They have put their blood, sweat and tears into turning Akron, MI into the place to be and it still is. With the best count that could be done, we discussed that there were about 3,000 bikes and riders through Freedom Fest weekend in Akron this year. There were 170 registered riders on the charity run on Sunday and Old Barn Motorcycle Shop and CYCLE SAVAGE WORKS were able to raise a nice donation of $2401.00 to hand off to the Tuscola County DAV. Check out that story a few pages into this issue.
Now, you may have heard that they have decided to bow out of running the 20th Annual Freedom Fest next year and are looking to hand over the reins in 2024. No, no the “IH” isn’t closing! There is a ton of history and memories that comes from Freedom Fest, and we are hoping that things get worked out in time with a new promotor or promotors. The IH has hosted some MAJOR bike weeks and weekends over the years on the streets of Akron and I know it wasn’t an easy decision for them to bow out, but they are ready for a change. At one time they said they had close to 1200 registered bikes and riders for the charity ride put on each year. Who remembers the streets being closed off and the cage fights that were put on? How about 7 hogs being roasted at one time to help feed everyone? Think about that! It takes a lot of time, work, volunteers, and sponsors to pull off an event like this and Thunder Roads Michigan Magazine will continue to support as long as we can.
It will be a new chapter next year during Labor Day weekend, but the IH will still be there taking care of us all when it comes to cold drinks and great food. They have supported the riding community for so many years and it’s no surprise that they are easily one of the top 5 ride stops in the state. They are a must for so many annual rides during the season. Almost every group or charity in the state has been to the Iron Horse Bar & Grill. So, with that being said, take a good look at some of the memories from this year on the next couple of pages of this issue and let’s hope for more next year. Thank you to everyone that came out and made the 19th Annual one to remember! We’d like to share our gratitude from the past and present TRM staff to Rich, Brenda, their family and to their staff for everything they did with Freedom Fest. We hope you find the time to refocus on your day to day and keep rocking it at the Iron Horse Bar & Grill for all of us bikers. See you soon!
~ RJ & Aly