Rally on the River staying put

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ironton will be keeping the Rally on the River for at least another year.

Rick Jansen, president of the Friends of Ironton, said the FOI board was split evenly on whether it would stay in town or move.

“We are going to review it after next year’s rally,” Jansen said. “It was a really tough decision but we had to come to some type of decision and the decision was to keep it here one more year.”

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The festival attracts thousands of bikers to Ironton every August, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the Cabell County commissioners and the Huntington tourism bureau, both of which have approached the Friends of Ironton about hosting the event there.

FOI was formed in 2004 with the idea to bring tourists and their dollars to Ironton and then use the money to improve the city.

Jansen said there is plenty of community support and support from some businesses. But FOI had trouble paying all the bills for the rally.

“It’s a really tough deal, we don’t want to walk away from Ironton because we know what kind of economic impact it has,” Jansen said. “But at the end of the day, all the bills have to be paid.”

FOI uses money from one event to pay for their next event.

“Financially, we were looking for a couple different things. The rally is strong enough, we just need more cash for it to pay for itself,” Jansen said. “The first couple of years are tough.”

Another problem is the lack of infrastructure because Ironton doesn’t have a hotel in town or tourist attractions for the bikers.

Jansen said the city giving them the property for Veterans Park would help FOI.

“We need to thank city council for letting us have that property and develop it into Veterans Park,” he said. “It is going to allow us to have the facilities to handle this event as it gets larger.”