BRIDGEPORT, Ala. – Folks in Jackson County are getting out of the house to kick off the 27th annual Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride kickoff event in Bridgeport Friday night.
There was live music and various vendors on hand.
The official corridor ride starts in Bridgeport and travels West to Waterloo, AL.
This event is fun, but it is meant to raise awareness of the forced removal incident resulting in the deaths of more than 4,000 members of the Cherokee Nation.
“It’s so important to remember our history. If we don’t remember our history, we’re doomed to repeat it and this was an event we would not want to happen again where all the people out of the southeast, the ethnic group was moved because they wanted the land and didn’t want to deal with the Indians,” said event founder Jerry Davis.
Davis explained to News 19 that the original route started in Chattanooga as 17,000 Native Americans left a concentration camp in Rattlesnake Springs.
He said they encamped in Bridgeport on their way to Waterloo.
Many of them showed up in poor health, while many others died on the way, said Davis.
This event draws in large crowds every year.
“It’s just grown exponentially every year. Our largest year was 2003. We had 150,000 motorcyclists in the parade,” said Davis.
But Davis is expecting lower than normal motorcyclists as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
“With this pandemic, that’s going to hurt us some, but it’s pretty weather. We could have anywhere from 10 to 30,000,” added Davis.
There was a free concert starting at 8 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m. Friday. The motorcyclists hit the road Saturday at 8 a.m.
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