Community

Bikers Bring Christmas Joy to Kids

Bikers carry gifts, then place them on the steps of the new Hendersonville Court House for local children in need.

Hendersonville – An amazing turnout for the Henderson County Toy Run of well over 500 bikers rode to bring gifts for children in foster care to the downtown courthouse steps. They roared down the highway on Saturday, November 21 with stuffed animals and other toys tied to their back seats for the foster children of Henderson County. This year marked the 23rd annual Toy Run. It was quite a sight for sore eyes and certainly got the Christmas spirit started. 

So many people participated. Chrystal Harris, Kimberly Carland and Sue Harris all participated with every aspect of this energizing event. Registration started at 10:00 a.m. with many cyclists lining up to get into Fletcher Park. 

Many retail stores, such as R & P Cycle Supply, Brown’s Transmission Service, Norma Jean’s Craft Shop, Mustang Cafe, High Caliber Custom Tattoos and Smokey’s Barber Shop were drop off points for unwrapped toys with boxes waiting to be filled with toys. A number of businesses in Hendersonville and Fletcher helped sponsor this amazing and highly successful Toy Run 2020. There were door prizes, a 50/50 drawing, and a delicious barbecue lunch. T-shirt sales soared. In response to COVID-19, sanitation stations were throughout the park, and outside selling tables followed distancing mandates to keep the event safe for all participants.

The Hendersonville Police, Fire Departments, and volunteers helped coordinate the effort and keep regular traffic at bay as the parade traveled its parade route. All sizes and types of finely detailed motorcycles—Harleys, Yamahas, Hondas, even three wheelers, with riders in leather jackets, gloves, and colorful bike helmets— roared along the road. It was quite a sight. The bikers in the parade traveled from Fletcher Park (now called Bill Moore Community Park) to reach the new downtown courthouse where, on its steps, the bikers placed hundreds of toys to be distributed by the Department of Social Services to children in need. This is certainly a heartwarming scene, all in the Christmas spirit. 

Other Toy Runs

Throughout the area, many of these caring, loving Toy Runs occur. The Smoky Mountain Toy Run, which is considered the Asheville/Buncombe County Toy Run,  took place November 7 at Kearfott Corp in Swannanoa. Due to COVID-19 precautions, organizers canceled the parade portion of the run and held a drive-by drop off. This annual Smoky Mountain Toy run started in 1981 with 12 bikes and about 30 people. For the first 15 years, it operated with a loose knit group of volunteers. In 1996 the Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Harley Owners Group made a commitment to become a primary sponsor, and the Toy Run became a large Buncombe County event. Today the Toy Run operates under a corporate charter, and all proceeds benefit Eblen Charities Saint Nicholas Project. 

The Polk County Toy Run happened November 28, starting at the Saluda, NC Fire Department. This run is held on the last Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Motorcycle riders come from all over—the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Georgia—to make sure the kids get at least one toy for Christmas. A barbecue lunch was provided with a donation of $10 or a new toy. There were T-shirts on sale to promote the event, as well door prizes and a 50/50 drawing. After a fairly lengthy ride at forty miles an hour through Tryon and Landrum the riders arrived at the Columbus, NC Court House to leave their gifts. The public was invited to attend, and the riders were met by Santa Claus.

For those who would like to participate in a Toy Run to help the children have a happy Christmas this year, on Saturday, December 12 the American Legion is planning their first annual run, starting at the Food Lion at 6 Crossroads Drive, Mills River and ending at the American Legion, 216 4th Avenue West, Hendersonville. Cars and motorcycles are welcome. Registration starts at 9:30 am–11:30 am with $10 or new toy and a 50/50 drawing to be held. For more information call 828-674-9796.