Sturgis East? Ballston Spa is Ready to Rumble

By Cecily Bapp

Published March 5th, 2017

BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa has big aspirations, and they don’t stop with the village’s ‘Bottle Museum.’

The big little town to the south of Saratoga Springs is now bidding to become the site of ‘Sturgis East’ — the largest and most diverse motorcycle rally east of the Mississippi.

Each year, motorcycle enthusiasts of every stripe converge on Sturgis, S.D., swelling the town’s population by more than 700,000 people. The event generates millions of dollars for the small town, which has just as little to offer the world as Ballston Spa. And that has Saratoga County officials believing Ballston Spa is perfectly suited to become the nation’s next motorcycle-rally destination.

“I am behind this idea 1,000 percent. To be perfectly honest, I can’t see a downside to this proposal,” said Ballston Spa Mayor Nicholas Von Chaw.

When asked about the prospect of more than half a million motorcycles invading his community, Von Chaw did not mince words.

“There’s little to no commerce in Ballston Spa. Nothing but dusty antique shops and dry cleaning fumes. What have we got to lose?”

Although an influx of more than half million people is expected to place demands upon Ballston Spa law-enforcement authorities, the town’s centrally located criminal courts and jail are viewed as a plus by town officials as they consider whether to turn their little town upside down for 10 days this August.

“I say go for it. We’ll show the biking world what real hospitality is all about,” vowed Marge LeBarge, owner and operator of ‘Ya Gotta Eat’ — one of a dozen forgettable and certain to be short-lived eateries located on Route 50 in Ballston Spa. “If we are bringing in bikers, I’m selling everything that’s not nailed down.”


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