Digby Wharf Rat Rally
You wouldn’t think that spending the weekend with thousands of Motorcyclists would constitute family fun – but it does!
My father grew up in Digby, so he loves going there. He has instilled that love for Digby in my boys, too. Any chance we get to go, we do.
So, it was my father’s idea that we go down to check out the Wharf Rat Rally and do some investigative reporting as to what it’s all about.
The Wharf Rat Rally was originally conceived as a free event bringing together riders of all types in a family-friendly environment. It begins the Wednesday prior to Labour Day Weekend and continues for five action-packed days.
The heart of the rally is the central core of the Town of Digby which offers both a central meeting place and access to the Bay of Fundy on the Digby Wharf.
Events take advantage of both the streetscape and the water and include music, vendors, raffles, watersport demonstrations, and guided tours.
And, it is the place to be! There are thousands and thousands of people there taking in the festivities.
According to the website, in 2011, the town of 2,092 had an influx of 50,000 visitors and 24,000 motorcycles over the course of five days.
That’s a lot of people.
The entire weekend is extremely well-organized, which makes attending the event very easy.
We weren’t sure if the Wharf Rat Rally was meant only for bikers, or if there were things for spectators to check out.
We weren’t sure if the event would be good for kids.
So, we decided to check it out.
Here’s what we found out.
Before the trip, I tried to do some research. The Wharf Rat Rally has a great website… if you are a biker, but not so helpful for general spectators.
Over Twitter, I received a lot of great information from the Digby Courier who answered my many questions and provided me with all the details. I will share those here.
A draft schedule of events is available on line but it is subject to change, so it’s easiest to just pick one up when you get there.
Head to Digby. You’ll know you are going the right direction when you are surrounded by hundreds of motorbikes!
You can risk driving as close as you can and looking for a parking spot, or just use the shuttle bus.
Head to the Evangeline Mall (in the parking lot of the Big Tim Horton’s). It will be on your right hand side. Dollarama and Shoppers are also in this mall.
In the parking lot will be a big registration tent. Head there.
The shuttle leaves for downtown every few minutes, and you don’t have to worry about parking. Plus, it’s free!
At the registration tent, you can go in and pick up a copy of the daily schedule.
Once you are downtown, enjoy yourself walking around!
All along the waterfront are hundreds of booth selling anything from food, leather goods, clothes, motorbike products and much more. It’s fun to wander through.
There are also a lot of bikes on display too!
Most of the events for spectators happen in the afternoon, so plan to arrive for lunch and then take in some of the activities.
We had lunch at the Digby Baptist Church. For a free will offering you could have chowder, homemade biscuits and rolls and fresh desserts! It was a great, cool place to sit down and have a break with a homemade meal.
While there a reporter from the Digby Courier happened to be there and took a picture of Thomas and my father! It made it online to the paper, too!
From there, we watched a stunt bike show on the wharf. This was really fun to watch as the stunts were incredible.
Be forewarned, I did catch my youngest trying to do some of these on his bicycle afterwards!
Other events we could have watched included scallop shucking, water shows, drift biking, show and shines, and so much more.
Pick and choose what you want to see, depending on where you are in Digby.
Otherwise, we found it was a lot of back and forth, up and down the streets.
Even though there were thousands and thousands of people in Digby, it did not feel crowded or claustrophobic. There were crowds of people, but because the roads are blocked off, and everything is so well organized, you can safely manoeuvre through town.
Everyone was so friendly, and there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the bikers.
While lining up for the luncheon at the Church, we were with a few bikers. They turned to us grinning, saying “we’re all bad people, you know!”
Which of course is not at all the case. There were a lot of stereotypical looking bikers, but none of the behaviour that so many mistakenly associate with bikers. These are just people who love motorbikes.
The whole atmosphere was definitely family friendly, and we would not hesitate to go again!