Thunder Beach is a five-day event that takes place in Panama City Beach every October and May.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Thousands of bikers are revving their engines across the Gulf Coast for Thunder Beach.


Organized by Thunder Beach Productions, the five-day event takes place in Panama City Beach every May and October.


For Joe Biggs, president of the organization, it’s more than just a chance to burn some rubber.


“Our mission is to put heads in beds,” said Biggs, who added that roughly 50,000 people normally attend the event. “We bring a lot of revenue to Panama City Beach. ... I know there’s some people that don’t like the noise, but it does a lot economically for the area.”


Panama City Beach spokeswoman Debbie Ward agreed: Thunder Beach is “a great opportunity” to showcase what the area has to offer.


“The weather is great, it’s a beautiful time to be at the beach (and) we just want everybody to stay safe,” Ward said. “We welcome the bikers twice a year and are always glad to see them.”


Citing the phrase “look twice, save a life,” Ward added that motorists should be extra cautious during the event. She said accidents normally happen each year.


According to Biggs, Thunder Beach has three venues: Frank Brown Park, an area he called “the crossroads” across the street from Sharky's Beachfront Restaurant and Harley-Davidson of Panama City Beach.


“It’s kind of spread out ... (and) with a motorcycle event, riders like to ride,” he said. “If you’re in one location and you park your bike all day, it’s kind of not really a motorcycle event.”


As lifelong motorcyclist who rides a Harley-Davidson Soft Tail, Biggs said that he took over the event in 2001 when its original owners were having some complications. It was then that he created Thunder Beach Productions.


“I didn’t do this initially to be an event promoter and to put on a motorcycle event,” he said. “It’s like they say, ’necessity is the mother of invention.’ ... To protect my investment, I had to take the event over, and the rest is history.”


Thunder Beach offers hundreds of vendors, live music and entertainment, a pageant and daily poker runs.


Visit Panama City Beach spokeswoman Lacee Rudd expects the event to attract visitors from across the U.S.


“The annual event is something that visitors and locals alike look forward to every year,” she wrote in an email.


Following Hurricane Michael, Thunder Beach was forced to set up shop in Pensacola last year. Rudd added that the organization “provided tremendous support” to the city after the storm.


“Events like Thunder Beach give visitors and locals an opportunity to come together and enjoy the area’s beautiful beaches and attractions,” she said.


This year marks the 19th annual autumn rally, which runs through Sunday. The 22nd annual spring rally will be next May.


For more information, visit thunderbeachproductions.com.