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Rally on the River rumbles into town

IRONTON — It was like one giant family reunion that spread throughout three city blocks.

With handshakes and hugs and even the occasional slap on the back, the Sixth Annual Rally on the River kicked off to perfect weather and camaraderie Thursday on Ironton’s riverfront.

Motorcycle club members from throughout the Tri-State and even as far away as Florida and Missouri began their descent into Ironton for the four-day music-and-bike festival that runs through Sunday.

With two separate stages set for 2009, patrons were able to choose their band of choice to watch and listen while browsing the festivals estimated 25 vendors or hanging out at the two Harley-colored beer tents centered 30 yards from each stage.

Rally on the River runs Friday from 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Besides the bands, the event features a bike show, a car show, a $1,000 poker run, church service, biker parade and famous motorcycle daredevil Bubba Blackwell.

For second-year attendee Wendy White, the two stages meant more reasons to shop for gear and stop for a cool one.

“Great idea to have two stages,” White said while attending Rally on the River with her fiance. “With one stage you might have a lull if the band wasn’t any good or not your musical style. With two stages, that’s almost impossible to happen.”

One band White and many others took an interest in was the Nite Shift Band who performed Thursday on The Planet 92.7 stage. Cranking out classics like “Shout it out Loud,” by Kiss and “Can’t Get Enough” by Bad Company, the band got the crowd into the Rally spirit early.

A noticeable improvement to the 2009 edition was the total number of vendors from a year ago. Spread out in every corner of the Rally grounds vendors were busy selling food, apparel and beef jerky.

Others were conducting drawings and airbrushing motorcycle gas tanks.

A booth near The Planet stage was even offering legal advice to motorcycle enthusiasts.

One thing that has not changed is the collection of bikes lined up throughout downtown Ironton.

Each with its own story, the bikes became the hallmark of conversation on Thursday as friends and strangers alike took turns explaining their newest improvements or additions.

The license plates on each one told another story. Walking along Second Street, hogs were carrying tags from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and even Florida.

And it was only Thursday.

Event Schedule for Friday, Aug. 14.

7-10 a.m.: Biker Breakfast Bar at Peddler’s

All Day: Self-guided tours of the Tri-State.

11 a.m. – midnight: Vendors, open rally grounds

11 a.m. – midnight: Sissy Bar, Crow Bar open (Handle Bar as needed)

3 p.m.: Band to be Announced, 92.7 The Planet Stage

4 p.m.: Gypsy Rose Band, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

5:30 p.m.: Dallas Moore Band, 92.7 The Planet Stage

6:30 p.m.: Derailed Band, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

8:30 p.m.: Bubba Blackwell Show, Exhibition area

9 p.m.: Strait 8 Band, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

9 p.m.: Earthquakers Band, 92.7 The Planet Stage

Event Schedule for Saturday, Aug. 15

7-10 a.m.: Biker Breakfast Bar at Peddler’s

All Day: Self Guided tours of the Tri-State

9 a.m.-1 a.m.: Sons of Anarchy Clubhouse, near exhibition area

9 a.m.-1 a.m.: Vendors, open rally grounds

9 a.m.-noon: Rally Car Show registration Third Street

10 a.m.-1 a.m.: Sissy Bar, Crow Bar open, (Handle Bar as needed)

Noon: Poker Run departs, Exhibition Area

Noon-3 p.m.: Rally Car Show, Third Street

Noon-3 p.m.: Jaguars Band, 92.7 The Planet Stage

2 p.m.: Mojo King Band, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

4 p.m.: Suede Brothers Band, 92.7 The Planet Stage

4 p.m.: Field Events, Exhibition Area

4:30 p.m.: Shane Thomas Band, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

6 p.m.: Parade of Heroes, Second Street and SR 650.

6:30 p.m.: National Anthem and Veterans Memorial, 92.7 The Planet Stage

6:45 p.m.: Lex & Terry – Live, 92.7 The Planet Stage

7 p.m.: Blackberry Smoke, 92.7 The Planet Stage

7 p.m.: Bridget Reynolds, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

8:30 p.m.: Bubba Blackwell Show, Exhibition Area

9 p.m.: The Four Horsemen, 92.7 The Planet Stage

9:30 p.m.: Rick Huckaby, 93.7 The Dawg Stage

10:30 p.m.: Bubba Blackwell Show, Exhibition Area

11 p.m.: Thunderstruck, 92.7 The Planet Stage