It was 11 a.m. Saturday when Carole Thornton and her husband, Gary, pulled their sleek black and chrome Harley into a parking spot on South Second Street.
They had just finished the three-hour plus drive from their home in Columbus. Now it was time to take in their first Rally on the River.
“We saw this in a magazine and we were looking for something to do,” Thornton said. “This is bigger than the one at Bellefontaine. So far, I love it. I love parking in the street.”
The Thorntons had come down with friend Mary Thomas, who was also taking in the rally for the first time.
“I love this town. I’ve never been there before,” she said. “Everybody is right out here.”
Cindy Hanes also came down from Columbus with a number of Christian biker organizations.
“We came down to mingle and fellowship and talk about Jesus,” Hanes said.
This was the seventh year for the rally that was the brainchild of the Friends of Ironton, the grassroots organization dedicated to promoting Ironton tourism.
The bike rally is just one event the Friends have put on along with the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament and the Oktoberfest.
By noon Saturday the Rally was in full swing with “Southern Thunder” booming away from the bandstand. The country blend band was one of seven groups that performed throughout the day.
For as far as the eye could see there were bikes gleaming in the sun up and down Second Street from Vernon Street to Park Avenue.
It was time for gossiping, eating funnel cakes and doing some atypical sidewalk shopping.
Efe Oztas came to Ironton from Ankara, Turkey, by way of Sturgis, S.D. That’s where the seller of bikers clothing had been a few days earlier at another bike rally before setting up temporary shop on Vernon Street.
“I was here last year and it was pretty good, so I decided to come back,” he said. Oztas unexpectedly got into the accessory end of biking as a fluke. Originally it was a sideline as he put himself through college studying international affairs. After an internship at the United Nations, he formed American Biker Inc. based in Orlando, Fla., and sells at 80 biker rally shows a year.
Kurt Carloni came from Oconomowoc, Wis., with an airbrush and a bunch of paints. In a makeshift tent away from the crowds, he spent the weekend doing custom designs on bikes and helmets.
He learned his trade studying commercial art, which he originally used in the advertising business.
“But I got out of illustration in the mid ‘80s when computers came in strong,” he said.
This was the third year for the artist.
“We like the rally and like the town,” he said.
Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Vendors Open, rally grounds
10 a.m. – noon
Bike show registration, Bobby Bare Boulevard
Full Throttle Service at First Church of the Nazarene, Fourth Street in Ironton
11 – 4 p.m.
Rally bars open, Rally grounds
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hauling Dust, 92.7 The Planet Stage
Noon — 2 p.m.
Bike Show, Bobby Bare Boulevard
1:30 – 4 p.m.
Against the Grain, 92.7 The Planet Stage
Bike show awards, 92.7 The Planet Stage
Raffle drawings, 92.7 The Planet Stage