Rally at the Border Blues Fest set for influx of motorcycle riders

Spring Barrel Tastings at local wineries

Jesse Weston plays hot harmonica last year at the Rally at the Border Blues Fest held at Deep Bay Park; this year’s festival is held at various venues around downtown Oroville. Gary DeVon/file photo
Jesse Weston plays hot harmonica last year at the Rally at the Border Blues Fest held at Deep Bay Park; this year’s festival is held at various venues around downtown Oroville. Gary DeVon/file photo

OROVILLE – Oroville comes alive this weekend with bikes, blues and booze as the 14th annual Run for the Border charity motorcycle ride arrives just in time for the Rally at the Border Blues Fest and spring barrel tastings at local wineries.

The Run for the Border, which takes place each year on Armed Services Day, features several hundred motorcyclists, mostly members of the Columbia River Harley Owners Group, riding the 150 miles from Wenatchee to Oroville to raise money for charity. In keeping with Armed Services Day, the fundraiser will benefit Vets Serving Vets out of Wenatchee. While the event is mostly Harley-Davidsons, anyone with a street legal motorcycle is invited to ride along to raise money.

The riders stop in Pateros for a break at the mid-point of their ride where often more riders join in. Then they’re off to Oroville, expecting to arrive sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and the town welcomes the two-wheeled visitors with open arms, designating special motorcycle parking along both sides of Main Street downtown and along 14th Avenue. While in town the bikers are encouraged to have something to eat, check out the shops and listen to the free music being offered as part of this year’s Rally at the Border Blues Fest.

The festival is much changed from the first two years where it was held at Deep Bay Park outside of town, partially because of a loss of one of the festival’s biggest sponsors, Kinross Gold, which is closing its Buckhorn Gold Mining project. However, there are other reasons for moving the Rally at the Border Blues Fest downtown, including the fact that’s where the Run for the Border makes its entrance on Saturday and that’s where the majority of Oroville’s businesses are located.

“We hope that moving the blues festival into town will further involve the downtown by more businesses staying open on Saturday or opening period that day,” said Jeff Bunnell, one of the organizers of the music festival. “Where we had been holding the festival didn’t make financial sense to those sponsors whose businesses were in town.”

Instead of starting the day of the Run, the festival warms up on Friday at Veranda Beach Resort. Being billed as BBQ & Blues at the Beach, the music from the Jones Street Boys starts at 6 p.m. and goes to 8 p.m. For those that want to have a fmeal, they must RSVP 888-476-4001. From the shores of Lake Osoyoos it’s back to town to the Pastime Bar and Grill where Tuck Foster and the Mossrites will be performing from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. This is followed by the All Star Jam Session from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

On Saturday, the local wineries, Copper Mountain and Esther Bricques will all be having barrel tastings between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Copper Mountain plans their barrel tastings at Taber’s Taste of Summer Fruit Barn just north of town at 33349 Highway 97 North, between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Esther Bricques Winery will host their event on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Music will be provided by Slippery Slope on Saturday and by The Mood Swings on Sunday. The winery is located at 42 Swanson Mill Road approximately seven and a half miles south of Oroville.

The Rally at the Border Blues Fest has something special for this year with a stage is being set up on 14th Street, between Alpine Brewery and the Camaray Motel. Oroville’s own Deepwater Blues will be performing at this free to the public, open-to-all-ages venue, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Someone else who once considered Oroville her hometown, Polly O’Keary, will be performing at the brewery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Voodoo Church makes a return to Oroville after an amazing performance last year. They will be raising the roof at the Pastime from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by Lisa Mann from 8:30 p.m.10:30 p.m. The night finishes off with another All Star Jam starting at 10:30 p.m.

“I think a good portion of those who volunteer to put the Rally at the Border Blues Fest on are concerned about the state of downtown and they want to make Oroville an economically viable place to live and work. We want to bring in some extra revenue downtown so we can continue the Rally in years to come and possibly expand it,” Bunnell said