Canada’s largest motocycle rally this August in Nova Scotia

NOVA SCOTIA – The typically quiet streets of a small Nova Scotia fishing town will soon be rumbling with the sound of thousands of motorcycles.

The Wharf Rat Rally will see a legion of bikes blaze into Digby for the 10th annual event that’s set for Aug. 27 to 31.

Motorcycle clubs from across Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Germany have travelled to the event in past years, and this year will be no exception, says the event’s executive director, Andy Kerr.

“What it is, even for the non-biker, is a family friendly spectacle of bikers, of vendors of all sorts, music and entertainment,” says Kerr.

The free event bills itself as Canada’s largest outdoor motorcycle rally.

Last year, about 25,000 bikes drove into the coastal town on Nova Scotia’s southwestern shore over five days, with about 64,000 people attending rally events, says Kerr. That’s nearly nine times the population of Digby.

Kerr says Digby’s main road, Water Street, will be fundamentally transformed, with thousands of bikes and vendors lining the curb.

“It’s usually pretty empty, a fishing town. Not a lot of business goes on in the other months,” he says. “But the creep into town of the bikes and the vendors every year, it’s incredible.

“It’s just a sea of bikes and people.”

But the rally isn’t just for motorcycle enthusiasts. Just ask Kerr, who doesn’t own a bike.

“I’m not a biker,” he says with a laugh. “The people that come here that are non-bikers, they come to look at these very expensive and very beautiful customized bikes. They come to see the biker culture and there’s also something for everybody.”

This year’s rally will feature time trials at the Digby airport, demo rides, a custom motorcycle competition and motorcycle stunters on the wharf. Those events will counter performances with bikes of the non-motorized sort: BMX bikes.

Top-end custom motorcycle builders from across North America will be on hand to display their custom-made bikes.

On the Friday night of the event, one of Nova Scotia’s most popular blues-rock singers, Matt Minglewood, will take the main stage for a free concert.

Performance artist Joshua Moonshine will also show off his quick-draw spray painting.

Kerr says what started 10 years ago by locals as a way to boost the economy has transformed into a mainstay event that draws people from across the globe.