Thursday, May 23, 2013
Kennebec Journal Staff
The United Bikers of Maine will celebrate 30 years of its annual toy run Sunday when thousands of bikers gather at the Augusta Civic Center for a group ride to the Windsor fairgrounds.
Up to 20,000 motorcycle riders from around the state will meet at the Civic Center and leave at noon for the roughly 13-mile ride to Windsor.
Smaller groups will rendezvous at satellite locations for group rides to the Civic Center. Riders will leave the Elm Plaza off Main Street in Waterville at 10:30 a.m. and depart the Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce on Commercial Street at 9:30 a.m.
Southern Maine riders will meet at The Blast on Route 5 in the York County community of Waterboro before leaving for the Augusta Civic Center at 9 a.m. Sagadahoc County riders will leave the Topsham Fair Mall off Route 196 at 9 a.m.
The toy run will be held rain or shine.
United Bikers of Maine spokesman Rick Dodge asked riders to have an unwrapped toy for a child of any age. The toy run is expected to attract up to 17,000 riders, who will donate as many as 20,000 toys, Dodge said.
"We're the biggest toy run in the U.S. that's not sponsored," Dodge said.
The toys are distributed at Christmas in all 16 Maine counties and to the native nations.
The toys are sorted at the fairgrounds as riders enjoy food and merchandise vendors from across the region.
The toy run coincides with the 10th anniversary of the terrorists' attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Dodge said as a result the toy run will be short on dignitaries who are attending memorial services elsewhere, but the bikers believe hosting the toy run on the 9/11 anniversary makes sense.
"We thought it would be a good way to commemorate it, but donating to a child," Dodge said.
For more information on this year's toy run, visit online at www.ubm-usa.org.