Toy Run is riders’ last run of year

The City of Port Alberni has proclaimed Sept. 17 as Toy Run Day, more than 1,000 riders are expected at the Sept. 12–18 event.

Port Alberni Mayor Ken McRae is flanked by Toy Run first vice-chairman David Wiwchar

The City of Port Alberni has proclaimed Sept. 17 as Toy Run Day, and Sept. 12–18 Toy Run Week in the city.

And if the rain stays away, event organizers are predicting a record year for the fundraising day.

Last year’s soggy event drew 660 motorcyclists from as far away as New York and Alberta. The record is 1,300, set a couple of years ago.

“If the weather holds, we expect to set a record this year,” first vice-chairman David Wiwchar said. “If we get over 1,000 bikes we’ll be well in excess of $60,000 (raised) in cash and toys.”

Even with a smaller turnout last year, the society still raised $50,000. They’ve raised over a million dollars in the past 27 years, and it all goes towards Alberni Valley-based charities that focus on children.

While the Port Alberni Toy Run is not the largest in the province (“We’re the biggest of the small ones,” chairman Lloyd Herzog said), it is one of the most popular with riders, Wiwchar said.

“The thing that really separates this Toy Run for the riders, is this is the only one I’ve seen where the community lines up on the streets to cheer on the riders, and that thanks the riders,” said Wiwchar, who has attended motorcycle events all over North America.

“As soon as you hit Coombs Country Candy and the cheering starts, I get goosebumps.”

Wiwchar is predicting a high turnout because the riding season started late due to a cold spring.

“A lot of bikers may come out for one last good weekend of riding.”

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