Harleys, Oysters and Leather

Oyster Run celebrates 30 years of memorable rides

Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally

Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally

A leather fashion show? Not what you’d expect in laid back, salt-sprayed Anacortes. But roll in when thousands of motorcycles-from hogs to crotch rockets-roar across the dramatic Deception Pass and Swinomish Slough bridges and into downtown Anacortes.

Like swallows to Capistrano, Harleys, Yamahas, Hondas and their leather-clad handlers arrive in the Anacortes Old Town district each year to strut their stuff at the annual Oyster Run.

Expect no speeches, no schedule of events at the Pacific Northwest’s largest motorcycle rally-and leather fashion extravaganza. Since its informal inception in 1981, the goal of this agenda-free, admission-free gathering has been simply to mark the end of summer with one last, memorable ride.

And ride they do, from all points north, south, east and west, many stopping at biker-friendly spots along the way and making it a weekend outing.

Despite the laid back approach, there’s no lack of entertainment. Throughout the day gleaming bikes are sidled up four deep along some 10 blocks of the city’s main drag, Commercial Avenue. Mixing with the leather-clad crowd is a constant stream of onlookers-locals and visitors alike-drawn by the flash of chrome, rumble of engines and colorful character of bikers and their riding partners.

Old Town Anacortes comes alive with music, refreshments and food as the annual event inspires local businesses and visiting vendors to go hog wild (sorry). Looking’ for a studded belt, fringed jacket or high-style trolley bag? Oyster Run is the place. Side streets sport niche inventory ranging from leathers to showroom motorcycles, while chefs dream up cycle-inspired food and drink menus. And always, there are the raw oyster “shooters,” after which the event is named.

And don’t miss the Seattle Cossacks aboard their vintage Harleys. In the one exception to the agenda-free day, these legendary riders can be found on 5th Street at 11 am and 1 pm performing their stunts and drills with an uncanny sense of balance and flair.

Meanwhile, gawkers and bikers alike often migrate from the street into local pubs, restaurants and shops, sharing stories, meeting old and new friends, and helping usher summer out in style.

Key to the event’s enduring success is the long list of volunteers, including the Christian Motorcyclists Association, who put up signs, direct traffic, man the info booth, and keep things purring like a Harley.

So, whether you cross the bridge via motorcycle or car, foot or pedal power, whether your style is leather, lace or seam-taped Gore-Tex®, Oyster Run is a unique way to celebrate summer’s end. Make it a day or part of a fun-filled island weekend, but get yourself to Oyster Run in historic downtown Anacortes.

Just the facts: 
Oyster Run Motorcycle Rally – downtown Anacortes
Sunday, September 25 2011
Admission: Free!
Coast in and hang out for the weekend: Shop, Play, Eat, Stay in Anacortes

originally written September 5th, 2011

Comments are closed.