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11th annual Richland Bike Bash raises money for fire department

Thousands of bikers are expected at the 11th annual Richland Township Bike Bash, which kicked off Wednesday night. (WJAC)

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP -- The City of Johnstown will see thousands of bikers from around the country Thursday for the 20th annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally.

But it's not the only event going on, Bike Bash is also happening this weekend.

Organizers say it's one of the largest fundraisers for the Richland Fire Department throughout the year.

The money raised supports daily operations at the firehouse.

The community has been supporting this event for 11 years.

While many people are getting ready for Thunder in the Valley to start Thursday in downtown Johnstown, thousands of bikers are also expected at a separate event in Richland Township: the 11th annual Richland Township Bike Bash, which kicked off Wednesday night.

"Have a good time. Drink up, eat up. Visit all my vendors," Andi Cveykus said to the crowd.

Cveykus is the fundraising coordinator for the Richland Township Fire Department.

She said the four-day event is one of the largest fundraisers for the department throughout the year. And all the money raised helps with everyday operations.

"We enjoy doing Wednesday evening because it is a community,” Cveykus said. “There's a lot of people from Richland...Early riders are here. They like to come to this too."

She’s talking about early riders for Thunder in the Valley. Organizers for that event expect 150,000 to 200,000 people.

Cveykus says she expects about 10,000 people for the Bike Bash. She hopes to raise $20,000.

"I feel the whole Cambria County area has a lot of welcoming to all the bikers that come in from out of town, out of the states," Cveykus said.

Those at the Bash, including Laken Burkhardt, said it's a great community event.

"I think having events like this during the summer is a great thing for our community because we don't have a lot to do, but these type of events are great,” Burkhardt said. “And especially whenever they're helping the community, like the fire department, we always need stuff like that."

There's music, food and even a mechanical bull for people of all ages to have a great time.

"We do have people that come back every year, saying they like this atmosphere,” Cveykus said. “They enjoy the people here. They love talking to people, listening to the bands and just having a good time."

And organizers say even if you're not a biker, it's still a great time.

You can catch the live music, entertainment and food every night from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The event runs through Saturday.

There will also be a light-up parade Friday at 9 p.m.

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