A new event designed to highlight Vespa and scooter culture will ride through town this weekend.
Hill City Scooter Fest kicks off Friday with a pop-up exhibition featuring art related to or inspired by scooter culture and continues through the weekend with a film screening and several group rides and tours of the area.
“The rides are always designed to show off the area,” Patrick Hubble, founder of the Vespa & Lambretta Club of Lynchburg, which is hosting the event, said last week from another scooter festival in the Poconos Mountains.
“… You see all the sights and sounds. It’s part of the gig, you show off your city or town.”
Hubble said there’s a rich scooter scene spread out across the eastern seaboard, with a number of long-standing scooter rallies that have been happening for a decade or more.
With this event, he said, they’re testing the waters to see what kind of response they get.
“We have 8 to 10 local vintage scooters already,” he said, so whether or not they get a large turnout, “we figure we can have fun [by] ourselves.”
Kim Soerensen, executive director of Riverviews and a member of the club, said in an email that the event is for “scooter aficionados and the curious community alike.”
“Lynchburg has a strong scooter culture, and we’ve been working hard to plan this event that will show off the best of downtown and surrounding areas to fellow Vespa owners/riders, while introducing a cultural icon to the community.”
Registration will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Riverviews Artspace, 901 Jefferson St., where a related art exhibit will be on display through Sunday.
On Saturday morning, attendees will meet at the Lynchburg Community Market for breakfast, followed by a ride down Main Street and treks out to Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and Apocalypse Ale Works.
That evening, the 1979 British film “Quadrophenia” will be shown at Riverviews, with a pre-screening cocktail hour that starts at 6 p.m.
Based on The Who’s 1973 rock opera of the same name, the film follows a man in 1960s London who “escapes from his dead-end job as a mailroom boy by dancing, partying, taking amphetamines, riding his Vespa scooter and brawling with the motorcycle-riding Rockers,” according to the event listing.
“The symbolism of scootering all kind of came from the mod scene, a British subculture out of the ’60s,” Hubble said. “… The movie touches on that era. The birth of the scootering scene comes from them in the modern sense that we know, as far as getting together for rallies.”
Scooter Fest concludes Sunday with another group ride.
Soerensen, who boasts she gets 130 miles to the gallon on her own Vespa, said she hopes the event will encourage more locals to join them.
“A Vespa is truly an ideal transportation downtown — you will never have parking issues.”