Santa’s coming to town with plenty of vroom

Staff writerNovember 30, 2012 

Thousands of motorcycles are expected to descend on downtown Olympia on Saturday for about two hours, part of the annual Olympia Toy Run.

Co-founder Joe Sullivan, who will be leading the parade dressed as Santa, said he’s expecting an extra-big year because it’s the 35th annual event, which raises toys and cash for the Salvation Army. Last year’s run brought in about $150,000 worth of toys and gifts, he said.

Last year, there were close to 18,000 bikes, a number that could be exceeded this year, he said.

“We started this 35 years ago with 27 guys on motorcycles and over the years... it’s built to this immense size that it has,” he said. “And, you know, the community has welcomed us with open arms. We’ve got great cooperation with the state and local officials and this event is just a super, super neat thing that we can do for all these kids.”

The procession will begin at South Sound Center in Lacey. Admission for bikers is a new, unwrapped toy or $10 per biker, or $15 per couple.

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and there will be performers and food, Sullivan said. The ride itself begins at 1 p.m. and lasts about two hours.

Bikers will follow the same route as last year, which was modified at the request of the city. The run starts west down Pacific Avenue, to State Avenue, then south on Capitol Way, and west onto Fifth Avenue and south on Deschutes Parkway, ending at Marathon Park.

The run once went down Martin Way and ended at the state Capitol, and some were unhappy with the change. It was changed to improve access to Providence St. Peter Hospital and the new fire station off Lilly Road.

But Sullivan said the new route worked well last year and was quicker.

Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower, who is managing the event for the city, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Intercity Transit advises that the run will affect 18 bus routes between noon and 3 p.m., and travelers should expect 15- to 60-minute delays.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 mbatcheldor@ theolympian.com @MattBatcheldor

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