Wharf Rat Rally asks for $10 to enter downtown Digby with a motorcycle

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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Saturday afternoon on Water Street at the Wharf Rat Rally 2013 in Digby.

Glenn Dunn doesn’t think $10 is too much to ask.

The chair of Digby’s Wharf Rat Rally stands behind the board’s decision to ask bikers to register before they head downtown to park.

“Anyone who travels to Americade or any other big rally, they almost smile because it’s only $10,” says Dunn. “They’re used to paying $20 and $30. One of our members was at a rally in Newfoundland and people paid $50 for a badge and a meal.

“There aren’t too many events of any kind, be it a music festival, an exhibition, or a rally where you don’t pay to get in.”

The Wharf Rat is Canada’s largest multi-day motorcycle rally attracting thousands of bikes to Digby’s front street every year on the September long weekend.

The $10 registration has been optional until this year.

Bikers will need the Wharf Rat Rally sticker on their bikes to get into the downtown area. Dunn says the vinyl sticker comes off easily and many bikers choose to place the stickers in the middle of their headlight.

Registration also gets each biker a tenth anniversary pin and a chance to win a Honda motorcycle, a hydraulic bike lift or a unique collector’s item from Timecycle Original.

Dunn says registration will give organizers a better idea how many bikers are coming, and will mean more accurate statistics for the event sponsors and accommodation providers in the future.

Not to mention that running a rally costs money – $300,000 is the rally budget which provides for the custom builders display, the stunt shows, the boat races, performers and artists like Joshua Moonshine, the fireworks and the free concerts including, this year, Matt Minglewood.

Dunn says the rally format doesn’t change much because really all the bikers are looking for is a chance to meet up and talk with other bikers.

“It’s the camaraderie and the good feeling of being together,” he said. “We’ve tried to up the ante a little this year by bringing in a big name musician, we’ve got some good builders because it is really about motorcycles, it’s about noise and power.

“That’s why the boat races work so well, they’re about noise and excitement and that fits with the type of crowd we have.”

Dunn, based on his experience as chair, is expecting a few more bikes this year.

“Based on everything we’re hearing, on the emails and phone calls, this will be a good sized rally,” he says. “A lot of bikers are coming back for the tenth.”


Organizations: Honda

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Sylvie Michaud
    September 02, 2016 - 08:14

    It is true that $10 is nothing but it is more about the principle; it's asking money from people who already bring money to the place. Have a 50/50 draw everyday or something fun like that!

    August 30, 2014 - 19:25

    first year I not going. my two bikes stay home and my money for a week stay, plus food,drink fuel goes somewhere else. fucken greed always creeps into bike events.

  • skyhawk53
    August 28, 2014 - 19:02

    Looking to collect a 10 dollar fee this late in the game strikes me as being outrageous, greedy, and quite possibly illegal. I believe Water Street is designated a public way and owned by the province, and not a private way owned by a private party who would be free to charge whatever they wish to use their 'way'. And help me to understand...is this registration fee a request, as described in the news story, or a requirement?

  • n koskolos
    August 28, 2014 - 08:11

    In the past years I stayed 3 days @ Pines The fact your charging $10 greed greed Hope you guys fail In sure other towns would welcome a bike event You guys need to be taught a lesson A $ in your hand is better than $000 gor what Greed

  • Bobby
    August 27, 2014 - 22:44

    leaving my harley home and taking my car for 1 saturday afternoon visit, just because of the 10.00 fee. I would normally stay 3 days and drop 1000.00 to 1500.00 in Digby but I will only purchase 2 meals on A saturday afternoon and one fuel fill tank fill up. Im not going to make A big difference , but I will make A small difference. Everyone trying to squeeze An extra buck , F... Digby.

  • Danno
    August 27, 2014 - 11:13

    The riders are the people who made this event successful. To now charge us for making it a success is a slap in the face. A smarter organizer would have come up with a better way to find add'l revenues such as a daily 50/50 or auctions. My support for the Wharf Rat is over.

  • Tim R
    August 26, 2014 - 11:57

    Do they charge Shania to play in PEI, she brings the crowds and so do we, maybe charge the spectators instead

    August 22, 2014 - 14:44

    if ppl dont want to pay the $10.00 then dont park your bike down town, dont get the pin or a chance to win a bike- its that easy

    • Tammy
      August 24, 2014 - 19:01

      So your saying it's about paying $10. For a pin. I pay out enough money while I'm there I do no need a pin to say that I was there. I buy Rally T - shirt and other stuff and I'm sure the money goes to the town this is all about Greed

  • lendall
    August 22, 2014 - 07:03

    how can this rally, run for another 10 yrs , without motor cycles, i have been there since 2004 & the town welcomed all bikes , & gave awayeverything , there has been hardly any changes too the rally , except more bike, but no bikes no rally is that what the town really needs?

  • Dave
    August 21, 2014 - 19:27

    Do I get meals and free camping for $10.00? Or is that just for parking my motorcycle.. You should remember no motorcycles no Rally.