The rally is very small compared to last year. There are a number of reasons for that. The Economy, the increased cost to rent a booth and EARL. My conservative estimate is 3,000 bikes and there are only a few vendors, maybe 40 including the custom bike builders and the "VIP" booths like mine. The vendors report that business has not been that great and they too attribute that to the economy and the fact the Earl kept so many riders away.
The organizers have been slammed with all kinds of changes to their plans - the school is now prepared as an emergency shelter for people so bikes are left out in the elements - Earl is at the time of writing still a hurricane and here in Yarmouth we have seen high winds and lots of rain.
None the less - every attempt was made to entertain the riders who did come and while the beer garden was hardly used and the music was not all that well received the Wall of Death, Beanr'e and the Sea Dawg the Magic Man were big hits as were the demo rides by both Harley and Honda, the Hub City Stunters and the FMX stunts. I have not been to see the two stunt shows yet nor have I had the chance to see the demos but I did see both demos in Moncton at Toys for Big Boys...
Here are some of the random shots I have from the rally so far...
My booth with all of the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Information, the Stanford Inn's Offer to Riders and of course our special printed edition of the paper - some tees and hats to sell to help with gas expenses and the conga donation bucket - if people flipped me a few dollars to help with expenses I gave them a Free Subscription to the paper...it all helps!
|Day One Pictures (For me day one was Thursday Sept 2nd)|
|Beer Garden with the harbour in the background|
|One of the builders from Quebec|
Day Two Pictures: Friday Sept 3rd
|The Canadian Lone Wolves show me their good side...|
|My friend Sweet T at the memorial booth for her hubby Bob Davidson the Tattooist who was a big part of the regional riding community. Bob passed away from a heart attack|
|A much busier street on Friday than it had been on Thursday but still a far cry from what last year brought|
|The vending area of Water Street - a rather small vendors market compared to previous years|
|These unique bird houses didn't go over well even though they were widely admired - I think most riders will be waiting to see if they have room in their saddle bags or tour packs...|
|Luc Le Blanc and his Family - Luc owns Kent Kounty Customs|
|Strip Club Choppers!|
|The Town Crier from Annapolis Royal - Peter Crofton Davies & his Escort Valerie Davies|
|The Town Crier from Annapolis Royal -|
|One of the gents from the Wall of Death|
|Kendra - a quirky, funny and warm Floridian who rode with Beanr'e...I love the tail girl!|
|Beanr'e in the go cart in the wall of death - HELL YAH! Go Beanr'e|
|Mailman shows off those sexy legs|
|Beanr'e being chased by the bike..|
|Sea Dawg the Magician entertains the crowd..|
While the rally itself is smaller and less organized than in years gone by - the riders are what make the whole thing fun and interesting. The backdrop of Digby Harbour, the hospitality of the business people and the Nova Scotian's (which is legendary) was fantastic...
Once the new team that is organizing the rally has a chance to gel I am sure things will rock yet again and of course hopefully by then the economy will have recovered and Mother Nature will be gentle and kind again....
The volunteers like Terry, Victoria, and so many more who busted their humps - thank you - you made all of the small stuff stay small by looking after we vendors,"VIPS" and customers with so much grace and dignity. You are a credit to the rally and the community.
Well - today is Saturday - Earl day and I am taking advantage of a down day to get the books caught up, the blogs done and the last newspaper before my holiday begins - finished...I will have another update after tomorrows day of wandering around!
Until then - ride safe..