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Thousands attend BikeFest at Lake of the Ozarks amid pandemic

According to its website, there’s more than 300 bars and restaurants, over 50 live music and entertainment shows, vending areas and more

LAKE OZARK, Mo. — Thousands of motorcyclists made their way to Lake of the Ozarks this weekend for the 14th annual Lake of the Ozarks BikeFest.

The festival went on despite the coronavirus pandemic. It began on Sept. 16 and ends on Sunday.

According to its website, there’s more than 300 bars and restaurants, over 50 live music and entertainment shows, vending areas and more. KY3 reported it's estimated that more than 125,000 bikers attend the event.

This is the first year of the event since the motorcycle riders who are at least 26 years of age don’t have to wear a helmet. Riders who choose not to wear one though will need health insurance coverage.

RELATED: New Missouri law guts helmet requirement for motorcyclists

KY3 spoke to several people at BikeFest. 

“It’s way overdue. I love riding without a helmet," said one biker from St. Louis.

The new law also means law enforcement can't pull over motorcyclists just to check if they're following helmet laws.

“We’re out to have a good time, catch some free wind, and get some road miles and actually some therapy on the way," Dustin Fletcher said.

The Lake of the Ozarks area does not have a mask mandate in effect.

KY3 reported that some people who wore faces masks, but many chose not to.

Last month, Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was held in South Dakota. Four Illinois residents who attended the rally tested positive for the coronavirus.

RELATED: 4 people from Illinois who went to Sturgis test positive for COVID-19

RELATED: VERIFY: COVID-19 study on Sturgis Motorcycle Rally overstated, experts say