Posted Under: Featured
What a great event the 1st Cape Breton Bike Fest proved to be! With mostly sunny skies all weekend, Sydney and surrounding towns and villages welcomed over 2,000 registrants with their traditional open and friendly Cape Breton hospitality.
Aptly named ‘Thunder in the Highlands’, motorcyclists were everywhere you chose to ride over the weekend, and hundreds were always congregated at Centre 200 where vendors displayed their wares.
We arrived midday on Friday amid a steady stream of motorcyclists from across the Maritimes, Upper Canada and the U.S.
After checking in at the Days Inn we headed to the Vendor Village to chat with fellow riders, enjoyed a late supper at Casino Nova Scotia and then listened to the live bands performing downtown at the outdoor street party.
Unfortunately Saturday morning’s rains cancelled the scheduled drag time trials for that afternoon, but the sun soon returned and we joined other riders heading to Louisbourg for their annual Crab Festival.
Returning near dusk we missed the outdoor concert at Centre 200, but luckily found a parking spot near the marina, bumped into my niece Kim & hubby Andy; and sat together on the grass to watch the fireworks over the harbour.
Sunday was another beautiful day and after a quick visit downtown we headed to the Show ‘n Shine in nearby Ingonish.
It was a picture perfect day and it felt good to ride the curves of Cape Smokey again.
The Keltic Lodge in the National Park provided a large grassy area near the beach for the event with lots of food and cold drinks at biker-friendly prices. A live band performed throughout the afternoon and even parking pads were provided for your kickstands.
By early afternoon we headed back for the planned ‘Storm the Fort’ event at the Fortress of Louisbourg, National Historic Site of Canada.
What an incredible experience Park Canada provided! As 500 motorcycles lined the waterfront to the fortress, soldiers met the procession to determine if we were friend or foe.
Upon being declared family, the motorcyclists were then permitted to ride across the bridged moat, through the main gates and into the heart of the fortress. The exhibits were open and the restaurants on site were busy serving their traditional fare and black grog.
The costumed interpreters were exceptionally entertaining and enjoyed immensely. A good natured motorcyclist was arrested, handcuffed and chided in public for the notorious crime of stealing a sheep and laughter echoed off the walls everywhere.
As the fog rolled in and our visit drew to an end, we were treated to a musket salute over the harbour by costumed soldiers.
Harold and I were then surprised and honoured to have the privilege of raising the first official Cape Breton Bike Fest Thunder in the Highlands flag at the Fortress of Louisbourg to symbolize the storming of the fort.
This simple act made history, as no other flag has flown at the Fortress of Louisbourg other than official government issue. Being chosen and receiving the gift of the flag to keep left Harold speechless (and that is no small feat) and me in tears. Thank you everyone for this honour, it’s a day we will treasure and proudly remember!
Sunday evening brought another free outdoor concert and the long awaited OCC Custom Bike Draw. The lucky winner was Jason Wilson of Coxheath, 2nd prize of $5000 to Ken Brownell of Neil’s Harbour and 3rd prize of $2500 to Joseph Weeks of Hubbards, NS.
Other prizes awarded included a framed limited edition print ‘Coming Home’, painted by Harold and donated by us to Keith Beaton of New Waterford; and Janet Evans of South Bar and Carol Lynn Raithby of Fall River both won free motorcycle training courses donated by Safety Services Nova Scotia.
Watch our website for next year’s BikeFest dates and plan to party in Cape Breton in 2010, or visit the official site capebretonbikefest.com and pre-register for the event!
Visit our photo section for more photos from the 2009 BikeFest and Storming the Fort event.