By Alicia Dziak

Games! Prizes! Music! Loud bikes! Family-friendly fun! All this and much more at the annual Rally in the Valley event, sponsored by the Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce (GOACC) Aug. 19-23.

If you’re looking for non-stop hustle and bustle, the Rally won’t disappoint.

According to Meme Yanetsko of the GOACC, “The five-day event is a motorcycle rally with the proceeds from the event benefiting a host of community charities.  Local business leaders who saw what other communities have done with similar events introduced Rally in the Valley to the area in 2003. They knew the event would draw many people from outside the area. Since then, the event has grown:  in terms of number of days held (2-5); number of dice run participants (149 – 1,057); number of contests (3-7); and spectators (2,500 – 8,330).”

The event kickoff is Aug. 19 at the Cutco/Ka-Bar Parking Lot. Stop by from 5 to 7 p.m. for music, food and raffle prizes. Afterwards, the GOACC encourages attendees to move down the street to Good Times of Olean for the Country Showdown preliminary competition. The Country Showdown is now in its 34th year of searching for country musical talent and presenting the winner a cash amount of $100,000. The contest, hosted by WPIG-FM is open to solo singers, duets or trios.

Thursday, Aug. 20 is Community Bank’s Banking on a Good Time Street Dance held on Laurens Street, between North Union and North First Streets, from 7 to 10 p.m.  Activities include line dancing, games, the Rally Harley Davidson Raffle, and music by local favorites The Hootz.

“We played last year’s Rally and it was HUGE!” said Ange Marino of The Hootz.  “I can only speak for myself, but I know I’m really looking forward to all the awesome vendors, fried food, adult beverages, seeing all our friends and family from this area, and rocking out w/my good buddies all night long.  We just love to be apart of such a fun local event!”

Marino also noted that, “This will be one of the few shows we’ll be playing in the area, before we head to Nashville for our first and only, all original, showcase at The Blackbird Sound Stage & Studio in front of some of the biggest names in country music.”

Don’t miss this great opportunity to see this rising music group!

On Thursday, guests can also enjoy food by Sparky’s Pizza with Certo Brothers beverages.

On Friday, Aug. 21, support breast cancer awareness at the Olean Area Federal Credit Union’s Kickstart to Rally and Tough Enough to Wear Pink Friday. Get the weekend into high gear with a motorcycle parade from the Olean Area Federal Credit Union to North 12th to West State to the stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. The Rally encourages all to wear pink to the rally in honor of breast cancer survivors and loved ones.  Pink Rally shirts will be available for purchase.

“Every year seems to bring new events.  To me, the bike parade on Friday evening is the official start of the rally,” said Colleen Estabrook of Portville, who has been attending the Rally for the past six years. “It’s always great to see and hear a large amount of bikes cruise down the street.”

The Rally will also feature four parachutists from Free Fall Oz who will drop into the stadium around 7 p.m. Guests are invited to be a part of the jump by taking a chance on a “Drop In On The Plate” contest. At dusk, enjoy a fireworks show presented by Mike’s Hard Lemonade and a free concert featuring The Barry Brothers.

Certo Brothers Saturday Fun & Games will be held Saturday, Aug. 22., from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., when the stadium will turn into a street festival with a variety of activities, including bike contests, bands, foods, and vendors. Join the fun as a spectator or a participant in the Bike Rodeo, where everyone is invited to test their motorcycling skills and balance. Compete for a chance to win cash prizes.

Enter the annual bike show, with judging taking place on Saturday; awards will be presented in nine different categories.

In addition, Swizzy’s Cause, to benefit The Jessica Sweitzer Fund, will be running non-motorcycle games from noon to 6 p.m., including human Hungry Hungry Hippo, corn hole, adult Jenga and more!  Also, water pong will be back as will the Adult Big Wheel Race.

Guests will also enjoy caricatures by Eric Jones from 1 to 3 p.m, and a variety of live music, including Freddie N’ The Jets from 12 to 3 p.m., Fat Brat from 3:30 – 6:30 p.m., and Steel Reign from 7 to 10 p.m.

The Street Masters will host a special 40th anniversary show on Saturday only in War Veterans Park.  The events will be connected via the tunnel under East State Street.  Hotrods, Ratrods, Kustoms, Classics, Muscle, Original, Burnfinds, Gassers, Drag Cars and Bikes are invited to come down and be a part of the show.  Car registration begins at 9 a.m. with dash plaques to the first 100 cars.

“On Saturday there are bike games, live music, and multiple vendors to visit,” noted Estabrook. “There is even a car show in the adjacent park. I think our favorite thing to do is just walk around and look at all the different bikes and talk to friends and soon to be friends. There are games for the kids too.”

End the weekend on Sunday, Aug. 23 with the Olean General Hospital Dice Run Day.

“At this year’s Olean General Hospital Sunday Dice Run, automobiles will once again join in the fun with their very own Rick Bokman Poker Run,” explained Yanetsko. “…the bikes will take to the run and complete an approximate 120-mile Run (NY/PA) ending at Bradner Stadium with food, music, prizes and more.  The bikers will compete for $2,000 in dice run cash prizes.  Automobiles will also leave at 11 a.m. on Sunday, complete a 50-mile poker run throughout WNY and compete for $500 in poker run cash prizes.  A poker run is where participants must visit five checkpoints, drawing a playing card at each one. The object is to have the best poker hand at the end of the run. The Mountain will have live remote from 9 – 11 a.m. right at the stadium.

Registration for the Dice Run is $15 for driver and $15 for passengers.  Registration for the Poker Run is $10 for driver and $10 for any passengers.  The registration fees include a $7 food voucher and chances to win the prizes.

Screamin’ Lou will provide music on Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m.

If all this fun is not enough reason to attend this year’s Rally, how about the fact that the proceeds go to charity? Many local organizations will benefit from the Rally, including HomeCare & Hospice, Cattaraugus County Airport Group, Salvation Army, Mercy Flight, Portville Little League, South Olean Cheerleaders, and Cattaraugus County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

“For a small town, this rally is big. And every year it seems to get better,” Estabrook said.”Knowing that the profits of this gets donated to local charities make it that much better too.

Don’t miss five days of fun for a great cause! Pick a day and head out to the Rally in the Valley! For more information, call GOACC at (716) 372-4433, visit www.facebook.com/RallyInTheValleyOleanNY or email rally@oleanny.com.