As Thunder rolls in, bikers hope rain rolls out

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — As the 21st annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally kicked off Thursday evening, thousands of bikers, event organizers and vendors hoped to prove false the claim by Fleetwood Mac that "Thunder only happens when it's raining."

Bad weather threatened to put a damper on the weekend rally, but early signs — like the sound of the bikes downtown and the fact that the Holiday Inn had seen very few cancellations — seemed positive.

"The month of June is wonderful for the hotel business here in Johnstown," said Melissa Radovanic, the director of marketing and community relations for Crown American Hotels. "It's vital for our hotel to survive."

Thunder can be vital for local businesses, too. At the newly reopened Sundown Saloon, right at the center of Thunder's festivities, owner Jonathan Wolf said that, rain or shine, he expects lots of people to stop by for cold beer.

"The last four weeks since we opened, we've been gearing up mentally for Thunder in the Valley," Wolf said. "I think we're well-prepared and well-stocked with beer to handle the customers."

Thunder kicks off with live music Thursday night, and 6 News will broadcast live from the event on Friday at 5:30 p.m. for a continuation of its summer Your Town series.

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