The highly successful Third Annual Wharf Rat Rally took place in the host town of Digby, Nova Scotia over the Labour Day long-weekend. This is the fastest growing and most exciting rally “down east”, and the 4-day event attracted over 10,000 motorcycles and over 40,000 participants. Only in its third year, this rally has proven it has what it takes for a great event, and the numbers of bikers attending is growing each year.
The secret to their success is the combined efforts of the rally planning committee, the many volunteers, the Digby Town Council and most importantly, the local residents themselves. This small town welcomes both the event and the motorcyclists sincerely; rolling out the red carpet to ensure everyone has a good time. As you approached the town, signs were on every utility pole welcoming bikers to the event.
The location couldn’t be better, as the town is nestled snuggly along the shores of the beautiful Annapolis Basin, and is a great starting point for several scenic day trips. Digby is also just an hour’s drive from the Cat Ferry, linking Yarmouth, Nova Scotia with both Bar Harbor & Portland, Maine; and is home port for the ferry service to Saint John, New Brunswick.
The main downtown area on the waterfront was open to motorcycles only and bikers could freely park along both sides of the street and down the middle throughout the entire event. With over 10,000 motorcycles in town, it was easy to spend the day just walking the strip, looking at everyone’s ride and meeting friends. Vendors were plentiful and spread out all along the downtown area from the beachside bandstand to the marina, where free concerts took place throughout the day and evening all weekend.
Biker TV and host Heather Ireland were on hand to cover the rally and were always in the heart of the action, or just talking with motorcyclists at the various events. Special guest Russell Mitchell of Exile Cycles had his custom builds on display at the Marina and drew crowds of admirers all weekend. Other guests included the popular Street Punishment Motorcycle Stunt Team; Joshua Moonshine, spray paint artist extraordinaire; and a Jet Ski Stunt Team from the US. Several local bands performed daily, with a special concert and dance at the arena, by the award-winning band “The Road Hammers”, on Saturday night.
The 4-day roster of events included a tattoo contest, best beer belly contest, loud pipes & burnouts, show & shine, four different area tours and, of course, the regular biker games, organized by the 74th Crusaders Motorcycle Club. A few new twists included a strongman competition, a fire truck pull, Scottish Highland Games and a lawn mower toss.
Community biker breakfasts to start the day were available at several locations and also a giant beer tent with live entertainment was busy daily. A dramatic fireworks display took place over the water at the marina on Saturday night and a Bike Blessing was held on Sunday morning on the waterfront. Local clubs and taverns in the area also hosted special events including a pig roast, lobster picnic, bikini and best buns contests throughout the weekend.
When it was time to dine, the food available was fantastic! Digby is home to one of North America’s largest scallop fleets and you won’t find sweeter or more tender scallops anywhere on earth. Fresh clams, mussels, haddock and steamed lobster were also available at all restaurants along the downtown strip for very reasonable prices.
To top it all off, this 4-day rally is absolutely free! That’s right, no registration fees, you just pay for your food, accommodations and Wharf Rat souvenirs, if so inclined.
Next year’s rally dates are from August 29th-September 1st. Information is available on-line at www.wharfratrally.com with links to hotels, motels, B&Bs and campgrounds in the area.
To make your trip easier, you can also get a free Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia, which contains all the travel information; maps and detailed routes you will need while visiting Nova Scotia. Simply log on www.novascotia.com/ride and your guide will be shipped to you free of charge.
Now is the time to plan to attend next year’s 4th Annual Wharf Rat Rally and enjoy some sincere Nova Scotian hospitality in one of Nova Scotia’s most beautiful locations!
We hope to see you there.
Wendy Nesbitt is the Co-Publisher of the Motorcycle Tour Guide – Nova Scotia www.motorcycletourguidens.com