Riders take part in last year's toy run. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Livesay.
ROGERSVILLE — After hitting an attendance slump last year, organizers of Rogersville’s 12th annual Toy Run to benefit “Christmas for the Children” are hoping perfect fall weather in the forecast for Saturday helps revive numbers.
Bikers from across the region are invited to rendezvous in either Rogersville or Church Hill on Saturday afternoon for a rural ride that features some of Hawkins County’s best mountain scenery. Saturday’s forecast is for temperatures in the upper 50s and overcast skies. As of Tuesday evening, there was a zero percent chance of rain for Saturday.
Bikers are asked to meet at the Big Lots parking lot on Park Boulevard in Rogersville around noon Saturday for the first leg of the ride, which leaves around 12:15 p.m.
That group will travel east and stop again at the Homestead Antiques parking lot off Highway 11-W in Church Hill to pick up more riders and begin the main run.
The Toy Run will take off again around 1 p.m., heading back west along Goshen Valley Road, to Burem Road, and then turning onto Webster Valley Road, to Old Route. 70, and then onto Route 66 and back into Rogersville.
The group will stop at the Rogersville City Park for a cruise-in, free lunch, live music and door prizes.
The recommended donation is $10 per rider or an unwrapped toy, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Rogersville-based Of One Accord ministry’s Christmas for the Children program.
The lunch, door prizes and entertainment were all donated for the event.
In its first 10 years of existence, the Toy Run was organized by the Wheels of Faith Christian motorcycle club, reaching an all time high for attendance and fundraising in 2011 with more than 300 riders.
Prior to the 2012 event, however, Wheels of Faith disbanded, and last year’s attendance fell to around 100.
Event co-organizer Mike Lawson told the Times-News on Tuesday that his goal is to get the numbers at least back up to peak levels from 2011.
“I guess the Wheels of Faith members got busy and didn’t have time to keep it going, and the club sort of disbanded, but the Toy Run is too important to let it fall by the wayside,” Lawson said. “We are the main fundraiser for Christmas for the Children, and for a lot of the kids in this program, this is the only Christmas they’ll get this year. It’s a worthy cause, and if you enjoy riding, it’s a fun event, so I’m really hoping we get a good crowd out there Saturday.”
In 2012, Christmas for the Children served 1,036 Hawkins County Children, up from 825 in 2011.