The 22nd Annual Haywood County Motorcycle Parade and Toy Run will roar through Haywood County this Saturday, Nov. 16. Riders will gather at the Canton, N.C., Town Hall on Park Street beginning at 10 a.m. Over the years, the event has collected in excess of $139,000 and truck loads of new toys for the children of Haywood County. Registration fee for entering the parade is $10 per person per bike 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 barbecue and fixings of Chef Dicky King and his Kookin’ Krew. King, a well-known local custom bike painter, is almost as well known for his excellent meals that occur regularly at biker and other events. 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 winners, as always, are the children of Haywood County. The gathered toys 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.
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 US 19 and Bridge Street and immediately get into the right hand lane for a turn onto Academy Street.
Since the year 2000, parade organizers report an average of 874 motorcycles riding in the event. In 2010 and 2012, just shy of 1500 bikes lined up for the parade. Approximately 2300 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.