The Hollister Motorcycle Rally is back in full swing this weekend after hundreds, if not thousands, of motorcycles started roaring into town this week. On July 4, the bikes started lining the street of downtown, as the rally expanded from two days last year three full days this year.
In 2009, the rally was cancelled due to the large amount of money the city lost as the main organizer. In January 2013, the Hollister City Council voted to bring back the rally. The 2013 event attracted more people than expected, which was positive news for local businesses and hotels.
Many area hotels say they have been booked for months. Best Western in Hollister reported no vacancies this weekend.
“People made reservations since January,” a Best Western employee said. “Friday and Saturday there are no rooms available. People are still calling in today trying to get last-minute rooms. There are probably no rooms available in Gilroy either.”
Event organizers worked with the Hollister Downtown Association to set up events and alert local businesses about road closures. This year the rally expanded to offer more events for families.
“There are more stages this year than there have been before,” said Hollister Downtown Association member Cynthia Guttirez. “Another huge difference is the expansion from two days back to three days, just like how it used to be.”
Bikers from all over the country come to the Hollister Rally, but there are also plenty of locals who enjoy the three-day event. Phil Bautista, who was born and raised in Gilroy, and his wife, Trish, a Hollister native, have been coming to the rally for years.
“We have been coming to the Hollister rally since it started,” said Phil, who rides his 2007 Harley Davidson downtown with his wife every year. Phil said he just traveled to North Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which he says is much different than the one in Hollister.
“It is a huge rally, and it lasts about a week long,” he said. “The difference between that rally and the Hollister rally is that the Hollister one has that hometown feel. There is nothing like coming to the Hollister rally.”
Phil said that even though the rally was cancelled for a couple of years, he would still show up in downtown Hollister with his bike.
“I’m glad it is back, once in starts picking up momentum again, it will get huge and people will start coming from all over the country again,” he said. “This year there aren’t too many out of state bikers that came in.”
The rally runs until Sunday in downtown Hollister.