The Wharf Rat Rally, one of the largest and longest-running annual motorcycle events in Atlantic Canada, is returning to southern Nova Scotia this summer, after the last two years were cancelled thanks to COVID-19.
The news comes through the rally’s website (after teasing the 2022 event all winter long through its Facebook page). This year, the rally will run September 1 through September 4, based as usual in the town of Digby, but spilling over to the surrounding communities and countryside. Organisers say they’re closing down a 1.2-km stretch of Digby’s main stream once more, with only foot traffic and motorcycles allowed, and that “This year the Rally will be pulling out all the stops and the air of expectation is palpable.”
That means lots of work ahead: “Organizers are presently working on all the popular activities, an online 50/50 draw, new merchandise, re-engaging builders, vendors, registration packs, prizes, photo competition, music, food and entertainment. With the possibility of a few surprises.” Basically, expect your standard biker weekend fare, or at least that is the plan. The Wharf Rat Facebook page is already signing up bands, so this process is already well underway.
Will the rally bounce back?
The question every motorcycle rally organizer has to be asking themselves this year is: What’s going to happen? Will riders return in big numbers, or have the last two years of pandemic taken away people’s interest in large-scale gatherings?
In 2019, the last year that Wharf Rat ran, numbers seemed to be growing. In the two years since, society has changed, but there was still lots of interest in the Friday the 13th events in Port Dover last year. If we see a summer without any serious pandemic issues, no doubt the public will be emboldened to travel and party, just like they did before we all heard about coronaviruses.