It was cold. It was rainy. And it was awesome. The 34th annual Chicagoland Toys for Tots parade saw a couple of Santas, a handful of elves, and thousands of bikers roaring their way through Chicago to deliver toys for the Marine Corps Reserve Center’s Toys for Tots program.
The Chicago Suntimes estimates that there were about 6,000 bikers on the parade route. ABC places their guess at around 8,000.
The Chicagoland Toys for Tots ride, which is considered the biggest motorcycle parade of its kind, has seen years with more than 40,000 bikers riding the 15 mile route from 83rd and Western to DeVry University. So my estimate, based purely on ‘holy sh*t that’s a lot of motorcycles’ mathematics, sits at an even 10,000.
The Chicagoland Toys for Tots ride, which started in 1978 with three guys and one motorcycle, has transformed into a huge outpouring of love and charity from the Chicago motorcycle community. The event is run every year, come rain, snow, or negative degree temperatures, to benefit the Marine Corps Reserve Center’s Toys for Tots program.
Cruisers, street bikes, and dirt bikes line up at the Dan Ryan woods on the south side of Chicago. The crowd is full of motorcycle clubs, old time veterans, lone do-gooders, and newbie riders. The event is run entirely by volunteers and money is raised through merchandise sales to help the charity.
Santa, of course, is the grand marshall.
“Look at all of these wonderful people,” Santa said. “Everyone here is making Christmas a happier time for a child in need. Merry Christmas everyone.”
You can see more photos from the event here.