Volunteers get early start to prepare for Rally on River event

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

Rally on the River may have started at 6 p.m. for bikers, but some got an earlier start on the day.

Arriving as early as 7 a.m. Thursday, volunteers and committee members began preparing for Rally on the River activities by setting up for the event sponsored by The Friends of Ironton.

"We're just getting organized and getting all the vendors in," Jodi Rowe-Collins, a Rally committee member, said.

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The couple dozen people who could get out of working Thursday morning stayed busy setting up tables, booths, tents, the stage and folding T-shirts, as they prepare for what organizers hope could be more than 10,000 visitors to Ironton this weekend.

In fact, the half dozen volunteers setting up the stage were so busy they would not take a break to talk.

"They want to get that done," volunteer Luanne Bartram said.

About 100 to 120 people have volunteers to work during the various events throughout the weekend for the Rally.

"People want to help because they know it's good for the city," Bartram said.

"The volunteer support has been tremendous," Rowe-Collins said. "Really we've had people just jump on board. We're just tickled to death that everybody is upbeat about it. We've had a lot of good comments from a lot of the people in the neighborhood."

Bartram volunteered not only as a biker getting the event going but also as a way to help out the city.

"This is good for Ironton," she said. "They need the help and you need to help a little to get things done. The Friends of Ironton have done such a good job to get things done too."

As a biker though, Bartram said she is just doing what is in her nature.

"There are a lot more motorcycle riders than there have been and motorcycle people are always willing to help," said Bartram, who has been riding on her own since 1998. "Motorcycle people have always gotten a bad rap, but they're some of the best people."

For organizers, keeping the Rally going is about more than having fun; it is bringing people here.

"We just want people to come to town," Rowe-Collins said.

Having a free event is an easy way to get people somewhere, keeping it free is something organizers want to continue.

"To keep it free, we hope patrons will keep coming up to vendors and buying T-shirts and koozies," Rowe-Collins said.

Rally on the River continues through Sunday with breakfasts, shows, vendors and musical performances each day.