The 24th annual West Kootenay Toy Run revs up for another day of fun and charity.
Set for Sunday, the day promises to be one of the biggest toy runs yet.
James Kallin, public relations representative for the West Kootenay Toy Run Association, says it comes as no surprise that the event has become so popular.
“We’ve been recognized as an honest and reputable organization. It’s neat to see that many riders on the street at once, and it’s all for a good cause. It is no wonder the Toy Run grew in numbers so quickly.”
The event has become extremely popular among riders and spectators throughout the area.
Motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to attend from as far away as Alberta and even the southern States.
Started in 1988 by 15 local riders from Nelson, the Toy Run quickly gained a loyal following of both riders and supporters.The plan was to take the small group on a loop around the West Kootenay and pick up toys and donations along the way.
After a short time the number of participants had increased substantially. This year’s Toy Run is expected to have over 500 riders.
The association anticipates the day to bring in over $25,000 and an abundance of new toys, all going to local charities. A majority of the money raised will go to 13 local food banks, two women’s shelters and many other community organizations.
The remaining money is put towards five bursaries for graduating high school students all over the Kootenay area.
“We give bursaries to kids who need a bit of financial aid when heading off to college,” says Kallin.
The Toy Run will kick off with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m., hosted by the Lions Club in the Castlegar Community Complex.
This will give participants and volunteers a chance to fuel up and meet one another before the ride commences.
Registration only costs $10, or the donation of a new unwrapped toy.
Santa Claus, as always, will be leading the group for the entire journey. The long line of bikes will start by making a quick trip from Castlegar to Nelson.
After a pit stop on Baker Street, where toys will be collected, the riders will make their way to Salmo where firefighters from the Salmo Fire Hall will serve up lunch for the hungry riders.
After a quick trip through Fruitvale the parade will arrive at Ferraro Foods in Trail, where toys are to be picked up courtesy of Wolf’s Den Tattoo.
The last toy pickup will be in Rossland, during Golden City Days, with donations collected by the Eagles Club.
From there the riders complete their long loop and return to Castlegar. The ride is expected to finish at around 3:30pm, at which point an early dinner will be provided by the Castlegar Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Tickets for the raffle prizes, which can be purchased prior to the event, will be drawn after the meal. This year’s grand-prize is a customized 2011 Fat Boy Lo-rider.
Riders of all ages and skill levels are invited to join in the fun and festivities.
“We have a wide variety of riders, ranging from 16 year old beginners to 90 year old veterans,” says Kallin.
Kallin acknowledged it’s the volunteers and everyone involved that help make the day possible.
“None of this would happen without our great team. They all help make the day a huge success,” he said.
For more information on the ride, where you can donate and where to buy tickets visit www.wktra.ca or phone 250-304-7665.