For 35 years, the small coastal town of Anacortes, Washington has been the hub for Oyster Run, the “The Largest Motorcycle Run in the Pacific Northwest.” The rally takes place on the fourth Sunday of September, and riders from all over the West Coast – Montana, Idaho, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and Canada – make the trek to this picturesque island in the Skagit Valley.
“We don’t care if you ride, drive, walk, crawl, or swim. Are nine months or 99,” says Limp Lee, founder of Oyster Run. “Everyone is welcome!”
You’ll find that is true for riders, locals, and tourists all converge on this scenic town to see the glint of shiny metal, hear the rumble of motorcycles, and admire riders in their finest leather.
A Bit of Oyster Run History
In 1981, Limp Lee started the first run, whose route took riders from Marysville to Edison. Over the next four years, it kept growing, and soon there were 200 bikes! When the Edison Tavern was closed one year, the group cruised to Anacortes, and they liked the vibe so much they talked with the City of Anacortes to host future rides and Oyster Run as we know it today was born. The rally now boasts more than 30,000 riders; however, Limp Lee still sees it as a day, “Out visiting with my friends.”
One of the draws of Oyster Run is that there is no official route, starting point or schedule. All riders need to do is end up in Anacortes. The free event is all made possible with the help of volunteers, sponsors and the many biker-friendly establishments in the area, including hotels, restaurants, coffee houses, and more. All of it means that riders can mark the end of summer however they wish.
While the official day is Sunday, the fun starts on Friday, and the comradery lasts through the weekend, making it a rollicking good time. If you do plan to stay overnight in one of the Anacortes hotels, book early!
Oyster Run Highlights
Many Anacortes businesses usually closed on Sundays open their doors for this fun event. One delicacy you are sure to find in restaurants, taverns, and even on the street, is oyster shooters, a traditional food of the Pacific Northwest and the namesake of the run. Additional street vendors also set up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to sell motorcycle gear, apparel, and food.
One highlight for young and old is the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team. They come to Oyster Run every year and always draw a crowd with their thrilling acrobatic stunts. If you’ve ever wanted to see them, this is the perfect opportunity. The team performs on 5th St. at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
New this year is live music on two different stages with the JP Falcon Grady Band and Christian Crusaders Music from 1 to 4 p.m. And, as a bonus for football fans, the Seahawks play the New Orleans Saints.
Are You Ready To Experience Anacortes?
Want to learn more about things to do in Anacortes, Washington? Our website has lots of information on Anacortes restaurants, activities, and special events to help guide your plans for an island getaway.
By: Lara Dunning