There were stuffed puppies, teddy bears and “Star Wars” warriors strapped to motorcycles.
And motorcycles – lots of motorcycles.
Even Santa rode a motorcycle.
“We had 1,820 riders, and we had close to 4,500 toys donated,” said Terisa Olson, Wichita Toy Run Association committee member who helped organize Sunday’s Wichita Toy Run.
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More than $4,200 in cash donations were also received on Sunday.
The 35th annual Wichita Toy Run parade on Sunday was over in about 90 minutes, according to a Sedgwick County 911 dispatcher. There were no incidents reported.
But the procession on Sunday from Lawrence-Dumont Stadium north to the Kansas Pavilions marked a return to tradition, bringing in hundreds of toys.
In its heyday, from 2008 through 2011, more than 10,000 toys were collected annually, and spectators would line the streets along the parade route to cheer and see the motorcycles as they passed by. In 2011, discussions about the toy run format changed out of concern for participants’ safety. That year, there were two accidents involving parade motorcycles. And in 2012, former toy run organizer Holly Potelle was killed while riding her motorcycle in an accident unrelated to the toy run.
This year marked the first time the toy run had returned to its traditional roots with a parade.
Despite blustery, cold winds, the feel-good parade brought in hundreds of toys and other holiday donations for the Salvation Army, the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots and the Kansas Food Bank.
“It went really great; we couldn’t ask for better,” Olson said. “We are going to do this again. We consider this year successful, and once we post the numbers and do a rundown, we will be building for next year.”