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April 11, 2013

Jasper Market Days draws a crowd ...and "Harley Jay" loves his “Hog”

Jasper — On Saturday, April 6, Jasper Market Days returned to City Park for year number two of the monthly event, compliments of Ronnie Herring and friends. A sweet addition this time around was a motorcycle show, which drew curious onlookers to check out the big, bad bikes.

Jay Papesca, better known as “Harley Jay” when he's comfortably seated on his 2009 flame blue pearl, Ultra Classic Harley Davidson, was more than eager to talk about his pride and joy.

In 2008, Papesca said he and his friend Ricky went to Milwaukee for the Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration to hopefully trade up their bikes.

“I had an '06 and he had an '08,” said Papesca.

Although not shocking for motorcycle enthusiasts, both of them came back home with brand new 2009 Harleys.

“We went and toured the factory and seen all the changes they made and just had to have one,” Papesca said. “He (Ricky) went and got him one, so I said, what the heck? My wife said, go get you one. We cut the umbilical cord and got 'em straight out of Milwaukee,” he added with a proud grin.

Papesca's newly designed Ultra Classic came with a redesigned frame, front forks, rear shocks, cast aluminum wheels, Dunlop tires, a redesigned isolated drive system and an air cooled twin cam 96 engine. It was Harley Hog at its finest in 2009 and still is if you ask Papesca.

Born in South Bronx, NY, Papesca said he lived in New Jersey for 18 years.

“We moved to Jersey when I was just a little guy,” he said. “I left there in '77 and came here.”

Both he and his friend Ricky work at PCS in White Springs. Papesca has been there for 34 years and is currently a safety facilitator for the company.

“Actually, I'm an electrician by trade,” he said. “I've been doing the safety job for about two years.”

As for his Harley, Papesca said, “I love it. I've got 20,000 miles on it already.”

On one adventure with his buddies, Papesca said they racked up 2,200 miles in seven days on a scenic trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and West Virginia.

“We never hit an Interstate,” he said. “It was 23 degrees when we got there. I had on my gloves and cold weather gear, but I had a good time.”

Aside from mountain trips on his Harley, Papesca said, he and his buddies have also traveled to the Florida Keys, Panama City and Myrtle Beach.

“I went to Bike Week this year in Daytona,” he said. “My younger brother is a deputy down in Volusia County.”

When asked if he applied his safety knowledge and rode his bike wearing a helmet, Papesca said, “Yeah.”

There were several other nice looking bikes lined up along the street during Jasper Market Days and their proud owners were happy to brag on them if asked, even if they weren't a glorified Harley.

One gentleman was a good sport as he took the brunt of some jokes by his buddies about his motorcycle. He was proud of his bike, though, a 2007 BMW that was spit shined and clean as a whistle.

One of his buddies referred to it as “By Mattel and Waters”.

“I think he did a wheelie a while ago by just pushing on it,” another man joked.

Herring was standing nearby and couldn't resist, stating that BMW stood for “Bring More Wampum.”

A search on the Internet revealed dozens of other meanings of the acronym, some a bit nicer than others. All in all, the motorcycle show was Hog Heaven for everyone who came out for the event.

There were also food and craft vendors, as well as fresh produce at one stand that was brought in from Immokalee. All the succulent fruits and vegetables had everyone's mouths watering. There was fresh corn, red and green tomatoes, cabbage, onions, cucumbers, apples, oranges, strawberries and a host of other fresh fruits and veggies.

Herring, aside from hosting the event, also had his own stand set up where he was selling his handmade bird houses, each one truly unique.

Betty's Funnel Cakes stand offered a variety of eats, including, not only funnel cakes, but curly fries, pork skins, pickles and mama's sweet tea.

Across the street from the produce stand, the aroma of smoked barbecue chicken and ribs was wafting through the air enticing appetites.

Fresh baked goods, jars of pickled vegetables and a variety of crafts were also on display and for sale.

Herring said there were several vendors who backed out at the last minute for various reasons, including health issues, but he hopes to see them back at next month's Jasper Market Days.

Jasper Market Days is held the first Saturday each month, so mark your calendar for Saturday, May 4 and come see what Jasper Market Days is all about.

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