WARRENSBURG — Motorcycle fever is sweeping the region as rallies in Warrensburg and Lake George get underway.
The 18th Warrensburg Motorcycle Rally kicked things off on June 1 and will run through Sunday, June 10. Held at the Warren County Fairgrounds, founder Ed Zibro said his event gets bigger and bigger each year.
Down the road in the village of Lake George is the Americade Motorcycle Rally, which begins Monday, June 4, and runs through Saturday, June 9. It, too, has new additions to mark its 36th year, said Director Christian Dutcher.
Zibro’s rally was fairly quiet Sunday morning, but the Warrensburg resident wasn’t worried. Driving around the fairgrounds in his golf cart, he said thousands pass through his event, which is free and open to the public. “Free” is the key for Zibro.
“People do not have to pay to come in and spend their money,” he said. “We have everything any biker would need.”
Pointing to a variety of vendors spread out on the fairgrounds, from mechanics to LED lighting companies, Zibro is proud of his event. Some vendors have been with the Warrensburg rally nearly since its inception, like Bette Parsons from Pipe Wrench Trailer Sales of Vermont. Zibro calls Parsons the “anchor of my rally,” as she’s sold various “pieces and parts,” as she calls them, for 17 of the 18 years.
There were new vendors this year, too, like Dale Stark of Chicago. His business, Streetwise, sells a metal cellphone holder to grip onto motorcycle handlebars. Stark attends about 25 shows a year across the country, and Warrensburg is one of the new ones on the list.
While there’s plenty for a biker to buy, at one end of the grounds is a motorcycle stunt show called the Wall of Death, based out of Florida and back for its second year. There’s also food and beverages available for purchase beside an inherent camaraderie among rally-goers, sharing stories from the road.
Zibro wasn’t always a biker, he said. He started out as a pilot, flying a plane for his tire business between upstate New York and Florida. In 1993, however, he bought his first motorcycle, a Goldwing. He was hooked.
“I enjoy every bit of it,” he said. “It’s the closest thing to flying, and I used to fly a lot.”
He tried his hand at organizing a rally 18 years ago, so that people would not be charged admission at an event where they would likely be spending money on repairs, motorcycle gear and other attractions. The Americade event has admission fees for its expo and demonstrations, among other add-on experiences.
Dutcher said the competition didn’t bother him.
“Americade is so big that it attracts an overflow of people,” he said Sunday, while setting up for the event his parents founded. “We have so much that it spills over onto other people’s plates, and that’s OK.”
There’s a lot new this year, he said, including a charity ride that will replace the regularly scheduled parade. Dutcher said Americade will donate $5 per bike for the first 200 motorcycles, a total of $1,000, to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. He said anyone on two wheels can join the ride and make a donation, or not.
The ride will form at the Queensbury Hotel in downtown Glens Falls around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 9. It will take off around 10 a.m., with bikes making their way with a police escort to the village.
Also new is the location of the event’s expo. Typically held in the Million Dollar Beach parking lot, Dutcher said they’ve moved everything to the Charles R. Wood Park on Westbrook Road. Dutcher said the move is more convenient for vendors because its centrally located and has paved parking.
Friday and Saturday the Shepherd Park block on Canada Street will be shut down to traffic for a block party, too. There will be a mobile stage showcasing eight bands throughout the two days, motorcycle stunt shows and other attractions.
“It’s a playground for anybody who rides a motorcycle, on pavement or dirt roads, any type of road,” Dutcher said of Americade.
For a full schedule of events at the Warrensburg Motorcycle Rally, visit warrensburgbikerally.com. For a full schedule of events and ticket costs at the Americade Motorcycle Rally, visit americade.com.