Friday night, the deep rumble of motorcycles begins and the hum of rubber against pavement almost coo’s. Saturday, the roar continues to grow as streams of motorcycles flood into town for Sunday’s Oyster Run 2014, “The Largest Motorcycle Run in the Pacific Northwest.”
For thirty years Anacortes has been the home base for Oyster Run. One of its big attractions is its natural beauty and warm, sunny September weather. Another draw is the collaboration between local businesses, the City of Anacortes and the Oyster Run Committee. Right from the start, Limp Lee, founder of Oyster Run, piqued the City of Anacortes interest with a proposal of an annual bike rally. As the years passed the nature of the event “grew organically.” The businesses that normally closed their doors on Sunday now opened for business. Oyster Run had a positive effect on the entire town.
It wasn’t a stretch for Limp Lee to settle on Anacortes. He was born and raised in Anacortes and lived on Guemes Island. At the beginning, he organized a small motorcycle run from Marysville to a local tavern in Edison where riders stopped to share oyster cocktails. The next year more friends joined, the next year more, and by the fourth year almost 200 bikes were riding. One year, the Edison Tavern was closed and the group decided to head over to Anacortes. A small street fair was going on downtown and the weather was picture perfect. The bikers liked the vibe and location. The consensus to hold future rides here lead to discussions with the City of Anacortes and Oyster Run we know today was born.
Thirty-three years later, and estimated 30,000 motorcyclists roll into Anacortes. There are approximately seventy biker friendly establishments, including accommodations, restaurants, taverns, tattoo parlors, car washes, coffee houses and more, en route and in Anacortes.
But, bikers are not all that come. This free event is fun and safe for the whole family. The Oyster Run slogan goes, “We don’t care if you ride, drive, walk, crawl or swim. Are 9 months or 99. Everyone is welcome!” And they are. The fun starts Friday with event goers filling the hotels, restaurants, shops and sampling a variety of oyster shooters. The comradery lasts through Sunday evening, sometimes even Monday. Vendors sell motorcycle gear, apparel and tempt with delicious food. The community, tourists, Oyster Run regulars and newbies all come down to take in the vibe of leathers, makes and models of motorcycles, and the colorful characters that make this event a rollicking good time.
One of the big draws of Oyster Run is that no route is required. People come from all over the West Coast, like Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California and even Hawaii. Whether you’re riding, walking or cruising in, everyone gets to mark the end of summer their own way.
Date: Oyster Run 2014, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014 (always the 4th Sunday of September) www.oysterrun.org
Admission is free and “ride at your own risk.”
Daily Events: The Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Drill Team, who have been performing motorcycle stunts for over seventy years, will perform at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on 5th St. As a bit of “post-season fun” the Whidbey Island Rollergirls will have street bouts at 11:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 3: p.m. Unfaithful Servants perform on the bandstand on 7th Ave. at 1 p.m.
originally written August 27th, 2014 by Lara Dunning