‘Swamp Roar’ attracts 600 riders

Published 9:54 pm Monday, October 26, 2009

More than 600 riders made an 80-mile lap around the perimeter of the Great Dismal Swamp Oct. 11 for the Suffolk Swamp Roar Motorcycle Rally, in conjunction with the Suffolk Peanut Festival.

The ride generated thousands of dollars in donations for a Great Dismal Swamp Gallery at the historic Nansemond County Courthouse, which is slated to be renovated and put back to use as a visitor center and municipal offices.

Proceeds from this year’s eighth-annual Swamp Roar have been combined with those from last year to provide a total of nearly $20,000 for the gallery project, according to officials.

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Proceeds from previous years have benefitted education and signage programs, as well as habitat restoration within the refuge.

The Suffolk Swamp Roar was created in 2001 by the city’s tourism department to help increase awareness of the Great Dismal Swamp’s fragile ecosystem and to enhance nature-based tourism and interpretive programs.

“Our tourism staff remains focused and steadfast in generating appreciation and understanding of both the historic and environmental significance of the Great Dismal Swamp,” said City Council member Joe Barlow, who enjoyed his first rally this year on a Honda trike hosted by members of the Patriot Guard Riders.

The event was sponsored by Suffolk Festivals Inc, Lipton, Budweiser, Pepsi, Tidewater Motorcycles Inc, Firehouse Subs of Suffolk, Southern Screen & Graphics, Penske, Krispy Kreme and the Suffolk Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association.