BALDWIN — Bikers throughout the state and nation, area residents, local business owners and organizations have been gearing up for the 46th annual Blessing of the Bikes set to take place this Friday through Sunday in Baldwin.

Organized by Para-Dice Motorcycle Club in Grand Rapids, this year’s event will benefit AMVETS Post No. 1988 in Baldwin.

With a total of four bikes and eight riders receiving a blessing for a safe and enjoyable riding season, the original Blessing began in 1972 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Baldwin. The event grew to accommodate thousands of bikers over the decades.

Festivities will begin with the ceremonial entrance down the M-37 corridor on the afternoon of Friday, May 18, and concludes with a blessing given at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at the Baldwin Municipal Airport. The Rev. John Gouch, of Grand Rapids, will offer the blessing this year.

Entrance to the airport on Sunday is $5. Wristbands also are being sold in advance this year at places such as North West Realty.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Blessing of the Bikes marketplace will be even bigger and better than ever before with more vendors and a centralized food court, according to Weeks. The marketplace, which are vendors set up throughout town, runs from Friday through Sunday.

There will be a free concert including KISS Inc. and Chalkboard Bullies, sponsored by Lake County Chamber of Commerce, and Split Latch Productions and local businesses. The concert will be from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 in downtown Baldwin. A guitar raffle will be part of the fun. Raffle tickets are $2 each and are available at several businesses.