Santa’s helpers to rumble through Haywood this Saturday
While you might see a stand-in for Donner and maybe a look alike Blitzen, you’re almost certain to hear Cupid and Comet as they roar through Haywood County this Saturday, Nov. 16 for the 22nd annual Haywood County Motorcycle Parade and Toy Run. The Vixens, Dancers and Prancers will gather at the Canton Town Hall on Park Street beginning at 10 a.m. for the event.
Through the years, the parade and toy run has gathered in excess of $139,000 and truck loads of new toys for the children of Haywood County. Registration for the parade is $10 per person per bike, riders can donate or a new, unwrapped toy of equal value per person per bike. Additional donations are gladly accepted.
Registration will close at 11:45 a.m. and the parade will begin moving under Haywood County Law Enforcement support at noon. This year’s route will take riders through the municipalities of Haywood, along the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway to the West Waynesville exit where the assembled group will travel down Main Street of Waynesville before heading to Maggie Valley and the Wheels Through Time Museum, host of the event for the 12th year.
At the conclusion of the ride, participants will be treated, while supplies last, to the barbecue and fixings of Chef Dicky King and his Kookin’ Krew. King, a well-known local custom bike painter, is almost as famous for his excellent meals that occur regularly at biker and other events. Wheels Through Time Museum curator Dale Walksler will again draw the winning name for his restored 1939 Harley Davidson Knucklehead Bobber as part of the day’s festivities.
The toys gathered at the event are distributed through a cooperative effort of Haywood County Department of Social Services, Haywood Christian Ministries and the Salvation Army. Cash gifts are made by the parade organizers to a variety of local 501(c)3 charities. Recipients of the cash awards have included REACH of Haywood, KARE, The Open Door, Haywood County Department of Social Services, the Community Kitchen and Rotary Christmas Baskets. Individuals interested in receiving the proceeds of this event should register through the Haywood County Department of Social Services.
Riders coming to the event should take Exit 31 off of I-40 onto Champion Drive. Proceed south on Champion Drive to Bridge Street. Turn right on Bridge Street at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Bridge Street, and immediately get into the right hand lane for a turn onto Academy Street.
Since 2000, parade organizers report an average of 874 motorcycles ride in the event. In 2010 and 2012, just shy of 1,500 bikes lined up for the parade. Approximately 2,300 people were provided meals in each of the years. The original parade in in 1992 had 63 bikes and raised $300 in cash and a truck load of toys.
Principal sponsors for this year’s event are Haywood County Law Enforcement, Wheels Through Time Museum, The Town of Canton and Evergreen Corporation. At this time, additional sponsors include Smoky Mountain Steel Horses, Clark and Leatherwood, NEO Corp., Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Rendezvous, Haywood Electric Membership Corporation, Taylor Motor, Borg Warner, Snap-on Tools and Blue Ridge Glass.