WATERLOO, Ala. (WHNT) — The 29th annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride is set to take off on Saturday, September 17, making its way from Bridgeport and ending in Waterloo.
Motorcyclists from across the country will make their way across the state along the official ride route – recognized by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission – following U.S. 72, with a lunch stop at Redstone Harley-Davidson near Huntsville.
A kickoff rally will be held on Friday, September 16 at 5 p.m. in Bridgeport, with kids’ activities, food trucks, vendors, a concert and a firework show.
The ride will leave from Bridgeport at 8 a.m. CDT on Saturday, September 17, with riders lining up on Alabama Street at 7 a.m. More live music and food vendors will be at the lunch stop near Huntsville.
Riders will arrive in Waterloo around 2:30 p.m. with a full lineup of events including a memorial walk, Indian festival, live music, arts and crafts, vendors, food and more. You can find a full lineup of events for the entire weekend here.
The event was started to mark the National Trail of Tears, a tragic day in Native American history when they were forced to leave their land following President Andrew Jackson’s signing of the Indian Removal Act on May 28, 1830.
By 1837, a move to push the tribes out began, leading to eventual bloodshed. An estimated 18,000 Cherokees and thousands of other Native Americans walked to their death, with many kept in inhumane concentration camps.
You can read the entire history behind the Trail of Tears here.