You either love it or you don’t … and either plan to attend or plan to leave. But before you decide, read on.
This Labor Day weekend, the Fours Corners hosts the annual motorcycle rally. While this event started in Ignacio about 17 years ago, motorcyclists come to ride and enjoy the many miles of scenic byways and small towns of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Most people know that means area roads will be crowded with motorcycles, and bikes will line the streets in downtown Durango. Merchants view the influx of visitors as an important (and in these times, critical) economic boost. Believe me, below the roar of motorcycle tailpipes, that ringing sound you hear is cash registers.
It’s interesting that in recent years, Durango has enjoyed considerable economic benefit from the weekend, yet Durango has not hosted any rally weekend events that add to the attraction.
The Sunday morning motorcycle parades of the past, which drew large crowds to downtown, were organized by local independent businesses and clubs. In 2008 and 2009, the downtown Durango parades were canceled because of costs and logistics.
Wishing to contribute an event to the weekend of activities and wanting to bring crowds of people back into downtown, the city of Durango expressed interest in taking over responsibility for the traditional Sunday parade.
Both the Business Improvement District and the Durango Harley-Davidson dealership offered financial support.
But interest and sponsorship in a motorcycle parade wasn’t enough; we needed a purpose. It was decided that the event would be enhanced by adding a veterans’ breakfast, a veterans’ dedication ceremony, a Civil Air Patrol fly-over, a classic car and hot rod show and parade, and the traditional motorcycle show and parade. The entire event would be held to benefit the national veterans’ assistance program, Building Homes For Heroes.
Now we had a winning concept.
At 8 a.m. Sunday, hot rods will begin to assemble downtown in the First National Bank parking lot, and motorcycles will gather in the Transit Center parking lot. Under the big tent in the Transit Center parking lot, everyone is invited to the Veterans Burrito Breakfast ($10). A Veterans Dedication will begin at 10:30 a.m. featuring Army Spc. B.J. Jackson, a double amputee speaking on behalf of Building Homes For Heroes, followed by a tribal blessing of the parade.
At 11 a.m., classic cars and hot rods will leave the transit center and proceed to Main Avenue, with the motorcycles to follow at 11:30 a.m. (Ear plugs are recommended.)
Donations for Building Homes for Heroes will be accepted from parade participants, and local veterans organizations, auxiliary wives and Blue Star Mothers will accept donations from crowds along Main Avenue.
Whatever your Labor Day plans, have fun and be safe. We hope to see you Sunday.
email@example.com Bob Kunkel is special-events and business coordinator for Durango Central Business District.