Weather doesn’t dampen Roar

HOLLIDAYSBURG – Rain washed out many vendors who had planned to set up at Legion Park for Roar in the Mountains this weekend, but wet weather didn’t reduce people’s appetite for community events.

“We like things that happen around here in Hollidaysburg,” Ben Kratzer, 29, of Hollidaysburg said under a pavilion at Legion Park on Saturday. “Events like this and the concerts in the Diamond every month – they need to do more stuff like that – kid oriented, family oriented and things that are for people 21 and over.”

Kratzer was one of more than 100 people camping at the Legion Park campground, rented by Blair County Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education, a Roar in the Mountains sponsor and motorcycle rights organization.

Ken Knisely, president of the nonprofit organization Roar in the Mountains agreed with Kratzer’s idea that Hollidaysburg needs more community events.

And the key, he said, to establishing more frequent community events is cooperation.

“If everyone works together, the sky is the limit. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true,” he said.

An example of cooperation that was successful this year for both Roar in the Mountains and Hollidaysburg Borough was the live concert featuring Flight 19 in downtown Hollidaysburg on Thursday. The concert, drawing strong biker attendance, was not only the kickoff to Roar in the Mountains. It was also the latest in a series of free downtown summer concerts organized by Hollidaysburg Borough.

The connection between the two community events formed at a meeting between Knisely and Hollidaysburg Main Street Manager Jamie Baser, Knisely said. Joining the efforts of the borough and Roar in the Mountains has been a success, Knisely said.

“We met and gave it a shot. We work with Hollidaysburg to bring people in to businesses. There may be people from Altoona who never come to Hollidaysburg because they never have a reason to. If they came to the kickoff concert for Roar in the Mountains, then they may become customers of businesses they never knew were there. And next year they go out for more of the borough’s concerts at the Diamond. It all works together,” Knisely said.

Knisely is passionate about bringing people to Hollidaysburg and providing bikers a fun three-day party. But in addition to weather, the economic climate has also been a challenge to potential sponsors, he said. This year, Blair County ABATE, Steve Seltzer Power Sports, and City Beverage are Roar in the Mountains sponsors.

For a $20 entrance fee, bikers camping on the ABATE campground enjoyed free band entertainment and alcohol. Security was stationed throughout the weekend. All proceeds are donated to charities, Blair County ABATE President Charlie Smith said.

The organization has supported numerous pieces of proposed legislation for bikers’ rights and gives “thousands and thousands of dollars” to charities each year he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.