Johnstown’s annual Thunder in the Valley® motorcycle rally is held the fourth weekend in June. While the City of Johnstown serves as the hub of the rally, related events take place throughout the entire Johnstown Region. According to the Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), rally planners make every effort to provide a wide variety of events and activities so that Thunder is enjoyed by everyone, including area residents who help to roll out the welcome mat for visiting bikers.
“The strong appeal of Thunder,” CVB Director Lisa Rager says, “is that everyone here goes out of their way to make the bikers feel welcome; the residents have a ball and it’s a very relaxed but festive atmosphere.” Rager points out that many of the main streets in the downtown are designated for motorcycle parking only.
Maps of scenic rides, the official program book, visitors guides and attraction brochures are available at the welcome tent which is staffed by friendly, knowledgeable volunteers. Visitors are encouraged to sign the guest book and place a stick a pin in the large U.S. map indicating their town of origin.
Vendors offering a variety of leather products, cleaning products, helmets, stickers, accessories, jewelry and other goods will be located in four downtown areas, including Central Park, lower Main Street, Thunder MegaMall and parking lots adjacent to the train station. Central Park and the Train Station will also have live musical entertainment with bands playing rock, oldies, blues, country and jazz.
The rally also attracts the participation of many motorcycle manufacturers including Yamaha, Can-Am and Kymco. Many will also host their own events at their dealerships.
As Thunder in the Valley® grows, so does its popularity. The rally is taking the east coast “by storm.” A Rider magazine writer recently said, “This rally has spirit…they make you feel welcome in every way!”
The Johnstown Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages bikers to come to Johnstown earlier in the week because there are many tourist attractions worth visiting and numerous scenic roads to ride. Regional motorcycle touring guides are available for download at The Alleghenies website and feature several great tours of the region.
“We have so much to offer that you can’t possibly do everything just in the four days of Thunder,” Rager says. “Johnstown and Thunder together add up to a great vacation opportunity, so we hope our biker friends will come and hang out with us a bit longer and explore our wonderful region.”
Attractions in downtown Johnstown include the Johnstown Flood Museum, which tells the shocking story of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889, in which 2,209 people were killed when a 40-foot high wall of water and debris traveled 14 miles through the valley into Johnstown, sweeping away everything in its path. The Academy Award winning documentary “The Johnstown Flood” is shown hourly.
The Johnstown Inclined Plane features cable-pulled cars that transport visitors along a track up the steep mountainside for a sweeping view of the city and valley below. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this engineering marvel is the World’s Steepest Vehicular Inclined Plane, which means that it can transport cars and motorcycles as well as people. At the top of the Inclined Plane, visitors will find a gift shop and visitor center with exhibits that provide a panoramic view of the city.
Just west of downtown Johnstown is the Heritage Discovery Center, Johnstown’s newest museum. The Discovery Center tells the story of the immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and settled in Johnstown, where they labored in the mills and mines, built their nationality churches and a new life for themselves and their families.
The natural beauty of the Johnstown region is an attraction in and of itself, where its winding back roads lure bikers seeking great rides from spring through autumn or until the snow falls.
Johnstown is located about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh and is accessible from state routes 219, 56, 403, 22, and 271.
For a free Johnstown visitors guide, directions and information on lodging, camping, events, or vending, visit www.visitjohnstownpa.com or contact the Greater Johnstown Convention & Visitors Bureau toll-free at 1-800-237-8590.
For more information on Thunder in the Valley® call the CVB at 1-800-237-8590 or contact us.