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Identity & Community

Big Crowds Expected At Johnstown's Weekend Bike Rally

You will be able to hear the sound of “thunder” from Johnstown this weekend, and it’s not from a storm.

The 18th annual Thunder in the Valley Motorcycle Rally kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday, welcoming bikers nationwide.

“From Florida to Canada, so they come from everywhere," said Jane Korenoski, director of advertising and sales for Johnstown Visitor’s Bureau.

Most hail from Ohio, Maryland, Virginia and New York, she said. And no, you don’t have to own a motorcycle.

The bureau booked entertainment from hard rock to polka with music from 48 bands. The free, four-day event features bikes of all types, children’s areas, parties and vendors selling a variety of leather products and helmets. Motorcycle-only parking will be available for rally-goers.

“It’s just a family atmosphere of people socializing and having a great time whether you have a bike or you’re in your vehicle,” she said. “And you go and there’s vendors, you can sit and eat and have a great time. For a minimal amount of money, it’s a great event.”

The event begins Thursday night with the “Hot Nights, Cool Lights” parade down Main Street, which invites biker participants to dress their hog in lights.

This year also features “The Wall of Death” where stunt riders loop their motorcycles around a deep, curved bowl and “Ill Conduct” for wheelies and other tricks.

It culminates with a "Grand Parade" at noon Saturday. Officials anticipate 175,000 to 200,000 people to attend over the four days.

"We’re not a hardcore rally, so we’re more of a rally for everybody and everything,” Korenoski said. “We just hope that everyone will come this weekend and enjoy themselves. Give us a shot because if you come once, I’m sure you’ll come back.”