Bikers gather together to make Christmas joyous for children
The sound of engines filled the beautiful sunny afternoon as some 500 motorcycles loaded with toys set out to deliver these packages to some very excited children.
The 29th annual toy run led by A.B.A.T.E. (Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education) started in the Dorney Park parking lot Nov. 17. This event occurs every year through sunshine, rain, snow, sleet and any other weather. Nothing keeps the cyclists away from the smiling children's faces, their families and the staff at the center.
Other motorcycle clubs also participated. Teddy Bears, Garfields, snowmen, American flags and other decorative items accompanied the drivers while many had their travel bags loaded with toys. There were even live pets accompanying their owners.
Police volunteered from various municipalities as well as firefighters to help the motorcyclists proceed to The Children's Center at 730 Union St., Allentown.
As the motorcycles roared down Hamilton Boulevard, police secured the intersections for them. Onlookers cheered as the cyclists went by. Turning Point, United Way and Volunteers of America were also on hand to assist with this event.
One of the original riders, Tom Seebald, is celebrating his 29th year of delivering toys to the children. Seebald said the first year there were eight riders and it continues to grow each year. Last year, there were over 1,500 bikers.
Santa and Mrs. Claus, assisted by Rick and Sue Hoffman, of Macungie, led the procession. Many area businesses added their share of contributions, including Praxair, one of the largest, followed by Fastlane Biker Magazine, High Performance Cycles, LLC, Lehigh Valley Harley Owners Club, Stroudsburg Trading Posts, Kuhns Garage, Keystone Consulting Engineers, All-America Graphics and the Reading Motorcycle Club. Other contributors included Traub's Doggies, All Phase Electric Supply, Grumpy's Bar-b-que Roadhouse, Barry Bartakovits Custom Pools, Skin Flix Tattooz, Willy Joe's, DJ Hammer, Dan's Cycle Shop, Solar Tech, Shellie Haldeman's Leather and Wawa coffee and beverages. Also included were Blackman's Cycle Center, Jeff's Auto Service Center, Jabber Jaws Bar 'n Grille, K.D. & Sons Heating and Air Conditioning, Greg's Auto and Tire, ESG Sound System, State Farm, Tom Bartholomew, Datacom Security Systems, Knecht's Auto Sales, Schaeffer's Harley Davidson, Gorr Trucking, Pickles Steakhouse, The Hometown Diner, G & S Auto Service, Allen Supply Co., Inc. and Yocco's, the Hot Dog King.