Santa is switching up his sleigh for something a little less discrete this weekend: the big man in red is set to join hundreds of bikers revving through Illawarra streets to bring presents for children in need.
The annual Bikers Toy Run is set to be another incredible spectacle with a convoy of motorcycles heading into Crown Street Mall with a special delivery for the City of Wollongong’s Giving Tree Appeal. With support from Anglicare and the St Vincent de Paul Society, the gifts will be given to Illawarra families in time for 25 December.
“It’s all about the children,” event organiser Mick Bradica said. “It’s about giving those kids in need presents for Christmas so that they get to smile on Christmas Day like everyone else.”
The bikers have been spreading the holiday spirit for 34 years and as many as 300 generous participants are expected to join this year’s celebrations.
“Anyone can come along, there’s no registration fees or anything like that. Whoever is feeling charitable, just show up and come and enjoy the day,” Mick said.
“The more we get, the better it is and the more presents for the kids.
“And hopefully we can bring it up and make it big like it was before.”
The event brings joy to more than just the recipients of the gifts by giving kids the chance to catch a glimpse of Santa and his cool new ride as he travels through the Illawarra.
“We wave all along the route, we come along from Shellharbour all the way into Warrawong through Windang, so anywhere on the side of the road Santa will wave,” Mick said.
The convoy kicks off from Shellharbour Workers Club at 10:30 am this Saturday 2 December, with a prize for participants who go all out and have the best costume and decorations on their bike, before riders head into the CBD to meet eager community members, set to arrive in Crown Street Mall at 11 am.
“Everyone’s always amazed, especially when Santa’s riding upfront, so the kids love it.”
“And it’s really nice especially when you come into the mall, it makes everything worthwhile.”
The bikes will make their grand entrance from Kembla Street and head towards the giant Christmas Tree, where there will be entertainment kicking off and speeches from local charities and Wollongong’s Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.
To find out more or to join the Bikers Toy Run visit the event Facebook page.
Anyone can still donate gifts to the City of Wollongong Giving Tree Appeal at various locations across the region until 11 December.