At noon Santa will lead the way for a caravan of motorcycles, trikes and cages (cars) leaving the dealership for Conway Regional Medical Center, where they will deliver the toys. Last year about 400 people participated in the event. This year’s event includes pre and post run live performances at the dealership by two blues bands:
Clover Blue, winner of the 2012 Arkansas Blues Championship, will play from 10 am to noon
Gypsy Rain, whose lead singer, Charlotte Taylor, is a 2011 Arkansas Ambassador to Blues Hall of Fame, will play from 1 to 3 pm.
Both bands are donating their time and performance fees.
The Toy Run, which provides a variety of toys for children who are patients in the Pediatrics Unit at Conway Regional, is expected to draw bikers from throughout Arkansas and surrounding states to the city of Conway. The Run is no longer just for bikers; individuals are invited to drive cars or trucks. The only requirement is to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child or youth 6 months to 16 years of age.
“No child should be in the hospital at Christmas without a toy,” said Steve “Painter” Polk, who has organized the Toy Run for the past 11 years. “Each year the number of toys has grown to the point that the run supplies our patients all year,” said Jo Lynne Gasaway, RN, Director of Pediatrics. Polk added, “I encourage everyone to come out and bring their kids. We have fun while helping children at the same time.”
As incentive to the group that checks in the most toys for children ages 6 months to 2 before the run, Polk has agreed to let them shave his hair which he will donate to Locks of Love. For those who want to help but can’t make it to the run, drop off locations in Conway include: