(Return) road trip: MountainFest is coming back to Morgantown this week

Hear that?

Thunder, off in the distance — and Mother Nature doesn’t have a thing to do with it.

It’s MountainFest, throttling its way back to Morgantown.

Make that, the rebranded Wild & Wonderful MountainFest, the return of the University City’s iconic motorcycle rally.

The rally runs this coming week from Thursday, the Fourth of July, through Sunday on the grounds of Triple S Harley-Davidson, at The Gateway.

Look for appearances from MountainFest favorites from years gone by, such as Jack Schit, Bag Lady Sue, the Kentucky Headhunters and Bastard Bearded Irishmen.

The legendary Coal Bucket Saloon is setting them up again, also.

Visit  https://wvmountainfest.com/ for the full schedule of events.

“We’re back for the first time in five years and we’re ready to put on a good festival,” said Jamie Summerlin, the community booster whose Guidon Creative event-planning firm has taken over the MountainFest proceedings for the long-anticipated homecoming.  

Costs and other factors put the rally on hiatus in 2019. Prior to that, the rally was a summer staple for 15 years at Mylan Park.

Bikers from across the region and all of the U.S., really, rumbled in for the party.

It was the entertainment epicenter for the get-your-motor running, four-stroke, air-cooled, V-Twin, teardrop tank with metallic-fleck paint, contingent of the population.

“July Fourth starts America’s weekend,” Summerlin said, “and this is a great American event for Morgantown.”

And one with memories, he said, just as great.

John Kay and Steppenwolf graced the main stage one year to perform the biker anthem, “Born To Be Wild.”

Weasel and Hell, Yeah (not their real names), became husband and wife on that same stage during another year.

And a couple of summers after that, Nancy and Butch, already married, rode in from Oregon, notching 2,663 miles on the odometer of their Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide along the way.

The revamped MountainFest is also bringing a serious element for its 2024 homecoming.

That comes by way of Sunday’s concert with Nashville entertainer and MountainFest veteran Darryl Worley, whose show will also serve as a fundraiser for ALS.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease which attacks the nervous system.

It’s also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” named for the legendary New York Yankees baseball player who contracted it in 1939.

Both Summerlin and Cliff Sutherland, who co-founded the original MountainFest, both like the sense of community that rode into Morgantown and north-central West Virginia the first time around.

And both don’t see any of that changing, even though the rally will be on a smaller scale than in past years.

“We’re blowing up on social media,” Sutherland said.

“I like that we’re back at Triple S, where we first started. Full-circle. And there are so many good people in the motorcycle community and in the Morgantown community.”

Summerlin agreed.

“To me, MountainFest isn’t just about motorcycles and those beautiful country roads that make for great riding,” he said.

“It’s about our state and all those good things we have to offer,” the new promoter continued.  

“People love us when they get here — but we have to get them here. MountainFest is the perfect way to do that.”

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