Perry County residents are no strangers to the rumble and roar of motorcycles. In fact, according to Perry County records, there are approximately 1,200 motorcycles in the county.
On Sept. 21, that number will rise significantly, when the Perryville Downtown Revitalization Committee hosts the seventh annual Bikers on the Square motorcycle rally in downtown Perryville.
According to committee member Robynne Duvall, this year’s event will see some changes from previous years.
“We’ve kind of mixed it up a little bit,” Duvall said. “We changed it up a little bit since we’re having it in the fall instead of the middle of summer when it was so hot. That was one of our main reasons for wanting to change the date as well as we wanted to coordinate something with the Wall. That’s POW/MIA weekend. We already have several groups that we’re aware of that are traveling into town that weekend for a ceremony at the wall.”
That event, billed as the Missouri Vietnam Wall Run, is expected to bring hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the state — and some from across the country — to Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial in Perryville that Saturday for a day of ceremony and remembrance at the Memorial’s full-sized, exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In honor of the many veterans in Perry County — and those who are just visiting for Saturday’s Wall Run — the Bikers on the Square committee will also hold a ceremony Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m., a salute to the “veterans of yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Another big change, Duvall said, was the committee’s decision to make the annual rally a one-day event, largely because it’s being held on the same weekend as the East Perry Fair in Altenburg, traditionally a huge event for Perry County that brings in thousands to the tiny town to enjoy “The Best Little Fair in the Land.”
“We’ve heard a lot of flak about that but we weren’t trying to step on their toes,” Duvall said. “It’s just something we decided to do. So, with that in mind we decided not to have it Friday night this year, just Saturday and for any groups that may be coming in Friday, we could suggest for them to ride down to the fair for a scenic ride on Friday evening.”
Aside from the big changes, Duvall also pointed out one minor change, but stressed that most of the event will be familiar to visitors.
“We’re not having any big stunt shows as we have in previous years,” Duvall said. “Since we’re changing dates, we wanted to start basic again, but we will have the burnout competition, the bike show, vendors and food vendors.”
And then, of course, live music. This year, the event will be highlighted by a performance from St. Louis-based country and rock band Well Hungarians, who will take the stage at 7 p.m.
In the end, Duvall hopes everyone embraces the changes, especially since it dovetails nicely with the veterans’ activities that same weekend.
“The date change is a big thing for us,” Duvall said. “I know some people were thinking, ‘Well, they’re not even going to have it.’ We’re having it, but we’re just changing it up a little bit and we hope it will work out well for everyone.”