Thousands of motorcyclists will roar through Riverside and into Perris next Monday for a Memorial Day tribute that will conclude with a patriotic concert at the Perris Fairgrounds.
The 19th annual “West Coast Thunder” is set for May 28, beginning at Riverside Harley-Davidson, 7688 Indiana Ave.
Last year’s event drew more than 6,000 riders, according to organizers.
Motorcyclists will assemble outside the dealership, between Adams and Winstrom streets, where “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be sung and local officials will briefly address the crowd.
At precisely 9:11 a.m., riders, many of them affiliated with veterans’ organizations, will head out on a 17-mile trek to slow-roll past Riverside National Cemetery, with the Inland Empire Harley Owners-West Coast Thunder Honor Guard leading the procession, escorted by Riverside police.
Temporary street closures will be in effect along the way to accommodate the motorcyclists. The route runs east on Indiana Avenue to Arlington Avenue, turns south on Alessandro Boulevard and continues to Trautwein Road, then goes east along Van Burn Boulevard until reaching the cemetery, where some riders will peel off to pay their respects.
In previous years, the motorcycle parade has swung through Moreno Valley as a curtain-raiser to the city’s Memorial Day events, and afterward rumbled into San Jacinto for a celebration at the Soboba Casino. However, for the first time, the riders will instead head to the Perris Fairgrounds via Interstate 215, with a California Highway Patrol escort.
At 10 a.m., riders will gather for a concert featuring patriotic music. Scheduled performers include Michael Austin, Retroblast and country music artist Granger Smith.
A large share of the proceeds raised from the ride and show will go to the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee, which relies on donations to build monuments and make other improvements at the cemetery, where more than 200,000 U.S. military veterans, police officers, firefighters and others are interred.
More than $400,000 in donations have been made, according to Riverside Harley-Davidson, which previously did business as Skip Fordyce Harley-Davidson, founder of West Coast Thunder in 2000.