Thousands of motorcyclists rumbled through town Saturday in a sea of black leather jackets and garland-wrapped handlebars in the 37th annual Olympia Toy Run.
Maj. Bill Lum of The Salvation Army said the event brings in nearly $200,000 worth of toys to benefit children in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey. Toys are also shared with other Salvation Army units in the region.
Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, Lum told the crowd at Marathon Park, where Salvation Army volunteers collected toys at the finish line.
Event coordinator Santa Joe Sullivan expected Saturdays Toy Run to exceed last years participation of 9,000 bikers.
Were all about kids, he told bikers at the finish line. Thats our motto, and thats why we do this.
The weather was sunny and freezing, but for most bikers, its never too cold to ride. Thousands of riders congregated outside Sears at the South Sound Center in Lacey, ready to put up their kickstands and deliver toys aboard their choppers at 1 p.m. The participation pool went beyond the flashy Harley-Davidsons to include two-wheelers of all makes, such as a Suzuki racing bike mounted with a stuffed doggie that was likely bigger than the kid who will get it.
Even a small group of Vespa scooters joined the route, which followed Pacific Avenue, State Avenue and Deschutes Parkway.
Jason Harris, a resident of west Olympia, had a kids science set strapped to the back of his Honda Shadow. This was his fourth year of participation.
It lets you get out and do something in the winter, said Harris, noting that last years Toy Run was much warmer.
The Olympia Toy Run began in 1977. The Salvation Army distributes the toys through its Toy n Joy Shop. To learn more, visit olytoyrun.com.
Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869; firstname.lastname@example.org