HOLLISTER, Calif. - UPDATE: 6/30/2017 5:15 p.m.
The 70th anniversary Hollister Independence Rally kicked off Friday and thousands of bikers and fans filled the streets downtown.
Bikers came to Hollister from all over to celebrate the holiday weekend but also to acknowledge the birthplace of the American biker, Hollister, California.
Motorcycle after motorcycle lined the curbs of San Benito Street. San Jose resident, Al Draeger had been coming to the Independence Rally every year he can and said it’s like a class reunion.
"I run into a lot of old friends, but more over this is history, this is where it all started,” said Draeger.
Back in 1947, the Hollister Independence Rally was the first of it’s kind. Now it brings in people from all over the country. Erik Estrada from “Chips” stopped in for a few photos.
Visitors said there is something special about the biker rally.
"I think the people and the unity of all the bikers. Everybody is here to have a good time, so it's great,” said Santa Clara resident, Maggie Ybarra.
The event had live music, food, and shops. The Mayor of Hollister, Ignacio Velazquez said it’s like Christmas for the town.
"50,000 people come out for the weekend and have fun, it's a great pick me up for the entire community,” said Velazquez.
The rally is also a boost for the local economy. Bikers said they’re hoping it’s a good time for all.
"Riding a motorcycle, is like flying three feet above the ground its freedom, it's freedom,” said Draeger.
It’s the Fourth of July weekend and thousands of motorcycle riders and fans filled up the streets downtown to celebrate the 70th annual Independence Rally.
Countless bikers line up their motorcycles on San Benito Street. Even celebrities like Erik Estrada are making an appearance.
KION’s Steve Fundaro will have more from Hollister at 5 p.m.