All Sections
Welcome guest, you have 3 views left.  Register| Sign In

During the New Hampshire Motorcycle Rights Organization's 34th Annual Toy Run on Sunday afternoon which is the unofficial start of the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army. The event culminated at the Union Leader's parking lot where about 550 motorcyclists brought toys of all kinds to be donated. Santa Claus arrived by motorcycle. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

Santa and motorcyclists turn out for 34th annual Toy Run

MANCHESTER — Santa in September? It’s a Queen City tradition.

The big guy with the beard rode through New Hampshire this weekend, rumbling in to Manchester on a motorcycle Sunday afternoon transporting bags full of toys for children who may otherwise go without during the holidays.

Santa, a biker dressed in a full red suit with white trim, and hundreds of bikers rode from Concord to Manchester for the 34th annual Toy Run, the unofficial kickoff event for the New Hampshire Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army. The convoy reached the Union Leader just before 2 p.m., their arrival celebrated by spectators standing and sitting along East Industrial and William Loeb drives.

Last year’s Toy Run was estimated at around bikers. Organizers said as many as 550 motorcycles made the trip this year.

Mayor Ted Gatsas greeted the riders and thanked everyone who took part. Volunteers were waiting with burgers and other food beneath a tent in the Union Leader parking lot, where a trailer was slowly filled with toys in plastic bags.

David Blanchard of Manchester was unpacking a large bundle of toys strapped to the front of his motorcycle which was painted with puzzle pieces. He has participated in nearly every year of the drives, only missing one year.

“I always donate for the Salvation Army,” said Blanchard, who said the size of his toy donations caused him to stay away from other vehicles on the way to Manchester. “I could just barely see over the package. I kept my distance.”

Linda and Brian Cooper of Candia arrived with a giant stuffed moose strapped to the front of their motorcycle. This is their 16th year participating they said, and each time they like to donate a giant stuffed animal such as a huge pink bunny, a large duck or a giant frog. The year they donated the frog they said they could “hardly see the road,” the way they’d strapped it to the front of their bike.

Bob Green of Concord brought his daughter-in-law Amber Penn of Boscawen along. He donates toys each year.

“Every kid has to have a good Christmas,” said Green.

This was Penn’s first time at the event, and she brought bright-colored stuffed animals.

“It’s a neat experience to feel the community come together for a great cause,” said Penn.

Donna Smith of Laconia also comes every year to donate, and brought Legos and a Shopkin doll this time.

“I’m so happy for the kids,” said Smith. “That’s all that matters.”


Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required

More Santa Fund

NH Angle