Saturday afternoon on Water Street at the Wharf Rat Rally 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.”