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Pa Roundhouse Rally set for June 20-22

Courtesy photo A crowd at the the Pennsylvania Roundhouse Rally held last year at the Railroaders Memorial Museum yard attends a concert. This year the three-day Rally will be held in Downtown Altoona, Heritage Plaza and the Railroaders Memorial museum June 20 through 22.

Don’t worry if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast, there’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy at the second annual Pennsylvania Roundhouse Rally in downtown Altoona this week, organizers said.

That’s because in addition to the motorcycle demo rides and cycle displays, there’s plenty of other activities like music concerts, classic car shows, wrestling demonstrations and other things to do to entertain a wide variety of audiences, said Debbra Heath, one of the organizers of the event scheduled for June 20 through the 22.

“It’s not all about motorcycles, there are food vendors, jewelry vendors … we have a wide variety of vendors,” she said.

The vendors are just part of the story. Shows include demonstrations by pro wrestlers and stunt cyclists including Bubba Blackwell, who last year jumped his motorcycle across several trucks lined up along 10th Street. Also on tap are displays of military vehicles and classic cars.

The rally is meant for people of all ages, and is perfect for a family outing.

“If you look at photos of Bubba Blackwell performing last year, you see faces of both young and older people in them,” Heath said.

A series of music concerts are on the roster all three days, with a range of bands catering to a variety of musical tastes, said event organizer Curtis Warren-der. The bands offer different types of music, from alternative rock to older selections of the á70s and á80s to country tunes.

The event, which debuted last year to enthusiastic crowds despite some rainy weather, is the invention of two Blair County businessmen, Bill Wilkinson and David Burgmeier. They launched the project after attending several similar events in other parts of the country, as a way to give back to their own community, they said.

Burgmeier owns the Roundhouse dealerships, including the Roundhouse Harley-Davidson Dealership, which is a co-partner in the rally. It will also be giving demo rides during the event.

Last year’s rally drew between 20,000 to 30,000 people from the mid-Atlantic region during the four days it was held, Heath said. This year, although it’s cut from four days to three and centered exclusively in the downtown Altoona area, organizers expect an equally good turnout if not better.

In addition to downtown Altoona, last year the rally included some activities at PNG Park and Hollidaysburg. But this year, because of scheduling conflicts with the ballpark and other considerations, organizers decided to keep the rally in the downtown area.

“As we grow, we’ll re-evaluate every year, what we need to do and if we need to change anything from year to year,” Heath said.

But they can tell already it looks to be a popular event, and not just among motorcycling enthusiasts.

“Just on Facebook alone, Iáve noticed a lot of interest,” Warrender said. âTheyáre asking about the classic car show, the military vehicles. They also like the Jason Britton and Team with No Limit (Stunt Show.)áá

The Railroaders Memorial Museum is a co-partner for the Roundhouse Rally, hosting music concerts throughout the event, said Sherry McCarthy, the museumás marketing director. Following the concert on the final night, there will be a fireworks display. They will also announce the winner of a bike giveaway.

Concerts during the event at the museum include “Doobie Others,” a Doobie Brothers tribute band on Friday night that’s part of the museum’s “Alive @ Five” Summer Concert Series followed by the band KIX slated for Saturday night. The band Fuel starts the concert series at the museum on Thursday.

McCarthy agreed with Heath that even though it rained last year, the rally attracted many people to downtown Altoona and to the concerts.

“I think the museum is a great venue for concerts and we always like to get involved with community events,” McCarthy said.

For more details about the Pa. Roundhouse Rally, go to the rally’s website at paroundhouserally.com. Although much of the event’s activities are free, tickets must be purchased for the concerts at the museum.

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