The Wharf Rat Rally could be the biggest motorcycle event in Canada this year.
Rally chair Glenn Dunn expects as many as 25,000 bikes and anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 visitors.
Dunn has talked with a lot of people who have all told him the same thing:
“I couldn’t make it last year; the threat of the storm kept me away. But I’m coming this year for sure.”
Dunn says the organizers have gone back to bringing in more bike builders: Russ Mitchell of EXILE Customs, LED Custom Sleds and the Rat Shop for example. Honda and Harley Davidson will be back offering demo rides.
“That’s what this is all about,” says Dunn. “People want to look at bikes.”
Another “good fit” and a new addition this year will be “modified” boat racing in the harbour. The top class of boats in the Nova Scotia Boat Racers Association hit speeds of 57 mph (90kmh) using up to 750 hp.
“This is a very competitive group,” says Eddie Nickerson, president of the NSBRA. “They’ve made the big gains of three or four miles per hour and now they are tweaking things looking for ½ a mile or ¼ mile improvement. There’s going to be a lot of noise, power, speed and excitement: guaranteed.”
Jet Skis and Street Punishment will also be providing power speed and excitement again this year.
Joshua Moonshine, the spray paint artist, is coming back this year too.
“That took a bit of work,” says Dunn. “But anyone who can paint with two hands and do such beautiful work, well he’s an entertainer and a great artist; a real crowd pleaser and a big draw.”
Street closures start Friday at 5 p.m. although there will only be one-way traffic on Water starting first thing Friday morning. All of Water Street from the bottom of Warwick to Maiden Lane will be closed until Sunday night.
Last year says Dunn the first big crowds started showing up Thursday and he expects that starting day to keep moving backwards.
Dunn says an economic impact study planned for last year fell through because the researchers were scared off by the storm. This year the Annapolis Digby Economic Development Association and Events Nova Scotia will carry out the study to figure out just how many people and how much money the rally brings into the area.
Best of all Dunn says he can guarantee good weather for the rally weekend.
“We’re getting it all over with now.”