MEREDITH — A charity motorcycle ride to benefit the annual Laconia Christmas Village extravaganza will be held on Sept. 28.
Al “Zeb” Hastings of Wentworth, president of the area chapter of Iron Legacy Motorcycle Club, said the members support a variety of charitable organizations and have added the toy ride to their list.
“To help raise some money so kids can have a good Christmas, that’s what the club is all about,” he said.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Harley-Davidson at 239 Daniel Webster Highway in Meredith. The ride will depart between 11 a.m. and noon from the dealership and travel Route 25 to Route 16 to Conway. The group will then travel the scenic Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain National Forest to North Woodstock. The group will return via I-93 to Exit 23 onto Route 104 in New Hampton, returning to Harley-Davidson. The ride will take about two and a half hours to complete.
The cost is $25 for drivers and $15 for passengers, plus the donation of a toy that will be given to a child attending Christmas Village in December.
Club Vice President Dave Haddock said his niece is a Special Olympics medalist and that he got involved with Iron Legacy to join in efforts to raise money to support developmentally challenged athletes.
“Taking care of the community, helping people. That is the club’s mission,” he said.
“We want to be able to fill a truck and trailer with toys and help make some memories at Christmastime that kids won’t forget,” said Sarah Brown of Wentworth, who will complete the motorcycle ride as Hastings’ passenger.
Brown has donated $100 gift cards for auto and motorcycle detailing from her business Star Shine Detailing that will be raffled when riders return to Meredith.
A variety of items will be raffled. Among the prizes is a Ruger .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle. The winning ticket holder will be required to accompany Hastings to a local gun shop and pass a federal background check before being able to take possession of the rifle. Additional items to be raffled include gift certificates to Shaw’s and Hannaford supermarkets, area restaurants and Smitty’s Cinema. Participants can also win Funspot tokens, gift baskets and a bicycle tune up. A 50/50 raffle will also be held.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and salads will be served when the bikers get back to the dealership, said Patty Derosier, director of activities for Christmas Village.
Emily Courson of Laconia recounted the joy she experienced as a child when her family first moved to the Lakes Region and her parents took her to Christmas Village. She has volunteered to help with the annual holiday event for the past six years, as Garland the elf.
“I love watching the reaction on kids’ faces when they open the doors and they see Santa,” said Courson.
For 44 years, Laconia Christmas Village has been a holiday experience for generations of Lakes Region area youngsters. While they wait their turn for an audience with Santa, they are greeted by a parade of winter wonderland characters including snowmen, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, Christmas trees, an army of elves and even the Grinch. Later they are invited to skip down Santa’s Way with an escort of pixie-like elves to the closed doors that herald their arrival at Santa’s inner sanctum where each child receives a new toy.
Laconia Christmas Village will take place Dec. 5-8, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.