The rumble of big bikes helping little people will roll through Carleton and Victoria Counties on Saturday, July 16, as the 32nd annual Carleton County Toy Run hits the road between Centreville and Perth-Andover.
Over more than three decades, explained Carleton County Toy Run Association member Jessica Miskimen, the annual run and related events donated an estimated $260,000 to sick children in Carleton and Victoria County communities.
The tradition continues this year, with a similar route to past years.
"Our run starts at 1 p.m. from the Centreville Community School to Hotel Dieu Hospital in Perth-Andover," said Miskimen. "Over the past 32 years, we have seen hundreds of motorcycles join in on supporting our hospitals by giving a cash donation or a gift for a child, a teddy bear, for example."
She explained that CCTRA rules and regulations ask the child's gifts to be new and packaged by the manufacturer.
The annual celebration begins Friday at the home of the Toy Run, in Muniac Park in Muniac, on Friday evening, with an adult party to follow the run on Saturday. Admission is restricted to 19 and over.
The cost per person is $40 per person for the weekend or $25 per person for Saturday. Those wishing to camp before Friday will pay additional charges.
Live musical entertainment begins Thursday evening, with free admission for that night only, with Zach Peters taking the stage.
South Bound Sinnerz will perform Friday night. Saturday night's biker bash will see Steve Waylon opening for headliner The Dirt.
Miskimen said the Toy Run weekends are part of a series of fundraising events. Other events include two dances, the Cabin Fever Reliever each spring and Halloween Dance in the fall.
The CCTRA also hosts a pair of motorcycle poker runs — the spring "Memorial Run" and a fall's "Leaf Run" — and a kid's Halloween event in October.
In 2020, during COVID, the association added another major fundraiser to their growing list. It began selling tickets on a new Harley Davidson Motorcycle, which they gave away at the weekend music event. The tradition continues.
"This year, we are selling tickets on a 2022 HD Low Rider S, giving it away to the lucky winner at this year's annual event," explained Miskimen, who added that as of June 23, only about 50 tickets remained.
Besides donations to area hospitals, Miskimen explained that CCTRA funds help sick children in various ways, highlighting gas cards to help families cover costs of travelling to the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, other hospitals and medical appointments for their children.
Miskimen said the association donates money to school breakfast programs and hospitals to help supply books, iPads, TVs, VCRs, tapes, DVD players and other equipment to help a child's time in hospital a little easier.
She said CCTRA members also participate and raise money for other local organizations and events, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Carleton-York, Bowl For Kids' Sake and Curl for Cancer.
Over the past 32 years, the thunderous motorcycle ride through the quiet Carleton and Victoria countryside attracted thousands of bikers. Miskimen, other CCTRA members, and the bikers encourage residents to line the highway to greet the riders, support their efforts to brighten the lives of children facing health issues and their families, and enjoy the sights and sounds of a 32-year-old Carleton County summer tradition.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun