More than 780 participants in Classic Harley-Davidson’s 7th Annual Eastern PA Toy Run collected 1,200 toys for the Toys for Tots in Berks and Lebanon counties and the Children’s Home of Reading for the upcoming holiday season on Sunday, Nov. 3. To participate, riders from Pennsylvania and neighboring states donated an unwrapped toy or game for the children.
“There is nothing better than one ride and a festive event to collect toys for the children in our community to make their holiday brighter,” said Caryn Friedlander, owner, Classic Harley-Davidson, Leesport. “It’s also quite a thrill to have all of the clubs for motorcycles, classic cars and other vehicles rally together for the day.”
Participants in the Toy Run drove all different brands of motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles including Jeeps, Mustangs and Corvettes. One of the more noticeable vehicles that participated again this year was the Berks Products pink cement truck. At registration, participants were greeted and helped by Santa Claus, Reading Royals’ team mascot Slap Shot, and special guest/actor Lebanon Levi on The Amish Mafia.
After a safety brief and a group prayer for the participants, the parade departed from Classic Harley-Davidson, in Leesport on 183 in Bern Township, at 11 a.m. for its 25-mile drive to the FirstEnergy Stadium, Reading, where they arrived approximately an hour later.
With a full police escort, the Toy Run was led by Santa Claus and his elf riding on a Trike, Western Berks EMS, and a group of 100 blockers on motorcycles. The warm weather brought crowds of onlookers who cheered the riders onto their final destination.
“The holidays are so important for the kids and we want to see them all have as happy a holiday as possible,” said George “Doc” Aupperlee, a committee member for the Toy Run who dressed as Santa and a club member of Blue Mountain Jeep Alliance. Adults, children and pets had their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus throughout the afternoon.
At FirstEnergy Stadium, the group was greeted by the Reading Buccaneers Alumni Brass Choir who performed Christmas Carols. Entertainment and festivities at the stadium included local classic rock and roll band Axis, crafts for children with local Girl Scout troops, Toy Run sponsors, local animal rescue groups. Also the staff of the Reading Fightin’ Phils (formerly the Reading Phillies) fed the crowd with complimentary hot dogs and hot chocolate.
A motorcycle raffle was held to benefit the Children’s Home of Reading. Actor Lebanon Levi picked the winning ticket for the raffle and awarded a Journey Bike to Ed Blatt, Reinholds. The Journey Bike was rebuilt by the boys at The Children’s Home of Reading with the help of Reading Cycles, Reading, through its partnership with Helping with Horsepower bike rebuild project offered by Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, Mitchell, SD.
The Journey Bike was a 2005 Road King FLHP (police bike) that was fully-customized with donated parts and accessories from Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, Mitchell, SD. House of Kolor donated the paint. The custom paint job was donated by Ray’s Auto with airbrush assistance by Roar Designs.
In the spirit of giving at the stadium, 24 registered donors made their contributions to Miller-Keystone Blood Center to help save lives.
The Eastern PA Toy Run committee was pleased with the turnout and hopes to have the same great support for this annual event. Visit www.facebook.com/easternpatoyrun and www.facebook.com/CHDofReading for more information and photos.