Once a year, the streets of Olympia close for a few hours as thousands of motorcycles roar down Pacific Avenue onto State, Capitol, Fifth and Deschutes Parkway. This is the 39th-annual Olympia Toy Run. Toys and proceeds are donated to the Salvation Army. They get there by being strapped to riders who zip through downtown Olympia, waving to crowds as they go.
Come rain, shine, or the rarity of Olympian snow, riders participate in this event year after year. “The first and foremost reason to brave the weather for me is the opportunity to contribute some small ray of light to a kid who could desperately use it,” said rider Jimmi Davies, “and in doing so, relieve a little bit of holiday stress on a parent who is struggling just to get by, let alone find extra money to buy a toy for Christmas.”
Riders come from all across the state to participate in the event, some from as far away as Whidbey Island, West Seattle, Vancouver and even Humptulips in Grays Harbor County.
“I’ve never given out so many high fives to elated kids in my life!” said Davies. “It has got to be a huge thrill for them to have a biker give them a thumbs up or a wave. I think the Toy Run is an important holiday tradition, and one that I’m fiercely proud to be a part of every year.”
What: Olympia Toy Run
Where: downtown Olympia
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
How much: new, unwrapped toy (no stuffed animals, please) or $7.50-$10