The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 16, 2008

Ebensburg to loosen noise rules for Thunder in the Valley

EBENSBURG — The Cambria County Fairgrounds will be a campground and party spot for this summer’s Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally, with Ebensburg officials loosening the borough’s noise control ordinance.

Some residents in the Elderwood neighborhood bordering the fairgrounds are opposed to the Johnstown event coming to their backyards.

But borough officials say they are satisfied with the biker group’s plans for security and safety.

“The fairgrounds are an amusement area, and from time to time you may have to tolerate what you might normally not have to,” Ebensburg Mayor Charles Moyer said. “We want Ebensburg to be open to all types of entertainment. After all, you can’t have the ballet every night.”

The Cambria Summit chapter of ABATE – the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education – has leased the fairgrounds from the Cambria County American Legion Recreation Association, which owns and operates the fairgrounds, for June 26-29.

Calling it “Wheels & Wings Campground” on one Web site – in reference to Ebensburg’s annual car, truck and motorcycle show combined with a wing-off – organizers say they’ll run a tight ship.

“At midnight, the band quits, and we won’t allow motorcycle noise after midnight,” said Dave Lydick, president of Cambria Summit ABATE. “We will have on-site security provided by us. We’ll carry walkie-talkies, wear security shirts and have a constable on site. There will be a zero-tolerance policy for trouble.”

Thunder in the Valley has grown steadily since it began in 1998. Ebensburg’s Wheels & Wings event began four years ago as a way to participate in Johnstown’s celebration, and, like Thunder, has gotten bigger each year.

Lydick stressed that his motorcycle chapter members are looking for fun, not trouble.

“I’m taking reservations for the fairgrounds campground from people bringing in motor homes worth a quarter of a million dollars. They’re not going to bring that somewhere there could be problems,” he said.

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