Annual Toy Run

The 28th Annual Toy Run Is Coming Up – Saturday, August 9, 2014

United Motorcyclists Of Vermont 2014 Toy Run
The Toy Run will stage at the Blue Cross parking lot in Berlin, VT as usual. We need help, as usual. We’re looking into new food vendor(s), maybe a DJ at the staging area, and having a donation bucket or people collecting donations on the way in. The Shriners are a great bunch (we’re not too bad either) and they can always use some help. As cool as it looks having bikes loaded with toys, money is king.

New Bikers Rally Against Cancer

Bikers Rally Against Cancer - BRAC
After the Toy Run join the guided ride to the First Annual Bikers Rally Against Cancer in Johnson, VT. The rally is being held at the Lamoille County Field Days area and supports cancer patients through the Lamoille County Cancer Network. Spend your morning riding and supporting Shriners Kids and then the rest of the day supporting cancer patients.

So, if you want to help, join UMV, if you’re already a member show up at a meeting or let us know what else you can do to help. If you know someone who could prepare and serve food at the BCBS parking lot, talk to them and us. And if anybody knows if there’s still a hot dog cart in Montpelier, ask him to set up in front of the State House on the 12th. I know by the time I get there I’m ready to drink about a gallon of water and soda and have a couple dogs, so if someone is set up there they should make out pretty well, well enough to make a donation to the Shriners.

Photos From the 27th Annual Toy Run Saturday, August 10, 2013

All of the photos are posted at Imgur.

The 27th Annual Toy Run to support Shriners Hospitals for Children was held on Saturday, August 10, 2013. It is always the second Saturday of August. Staging will be at the Blue Cross parking lot in Berlin, VT starting at around 9:00 AM. We leave for the State House in Montpelier at noon sharp.

Bring cash, your checkbook and / or a new, unwrapped toy to donate. If you can’t make it to the Toy Run or forgot your checkbook/wallet etc. you can donate here for the Children at Shriners Hospitals. UMV is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization.

UMV Toy Run 2013

Weather Forecast…

Weather for Montpelier
Today 04/25/2014 04/26/2014
It is forcast to be Clear at 11:00 PM EDT on April 24, 2014
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 11:00 PM EDT on April 25, 2014
Partly Cloudy
It is forcast to be Rain Showers at 11:00 PM EDT on April 26, 2014
Rain Showers

First off, everyone who rides in Vermont knows not to believe the weather forecasters. Seems like they often don’t even look out the window to see what it’s really doing outside. Last year they predicted something like deadly, dangerous thunderstorms, end of the world kind of stuff. It was hot, mostly sunny and humid. On the way home around 3:00 in the afternoon we ran into some sprinkles.


Toys look great on our bikes, they look great on the State House steps and they are all put to good use. That being said, please donate cash, and a toy. We visited the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, MA last year and heard how much they appreciate the toys. They have a section in the basement called the Toy Store. All of the children look forward to getting to pick something out while they’re there. Stuffed animals look really great on bikes and we post lots of photos of them. They do not make it to the Shriners Hospital. They are donated to police, sheriff and emergency departments in the area. I was an EMT for nearly 20 years and it is really handy to have some nice stuffed toys on the ambulance to help calm children involved in emergency situations.

New Starting Point

Our new starting point this year is Green Mountain Harley in Essex Junction. Check with them for more info, and we’ll try to keep updated here. They are serving breakfast at 7:30 and kick stands up at 8:30 for the ride to Waterbury. There they meet up with the group from Morrisville and head to Blue Cross in Berlin.

Middlebury, VT – McDonalds leave at 9:00 AM
Morrisville, VT – Stone Grill leave at 8:30 AM
Waterbury, VT – Self Storage combine with Essex Jct and Morrisville groups to ride to Berlin
Newport, VT – Gardner Park leave at 7:00 AM and head to St. Johnsbury
St. Johsnbury, VT – Green Mtn Mall meet up with Newport group and ride to Berlin around 9:30 AM

We leave the Blue Cross parking lot at noon sharp for the ride to the State House.

For safety’s sake, please do not throw candy to (at) people along the parade route. And please do not try to accept toys they offer along the way. We do not want bikes crashing into each other and we don’t want to run anyone over.

If you have more info, questions, comments, etc. please post them. We’ll do our best to answer, respond, update, correct…while you at it, join UMV and come to some meetings, volunteer to help, organize, lead…

26th Annual UMV Toy Run 2012

The Toy Run will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2012. It is always the second Saturday of August. We’ll be staging at the Blue Cross Blue Shield parking lot in Berlin, VT. Please be there before 11:00 (well before) to get ready for the ride to the State House in Montpelier. We leave at noon – sharp. More info is coming and as usual we could use more help. Come to a meeting to help in the planning and preparing.

The Toy Run is a guided, police escorted ride. We start staging at the BCBS parking lot around 8:00 AM. Refreshments and t-shirts are available there. We have port-o-lets set up for your convenience. Generally we have around 1,000 motorcycles. Please arrive early to avoid problems. We leave at noon sharp. We do ask that riders refrain from throwing candy to people along the route and do not try to grab toy from them either. We are riding in close formation on public streets and do not want any accidents.

The Red Knights have volunteered to lead the group from The Spanked Puppy in Colchester to Waterbury. The groups merge there and are led by Sheriff Sam Hill to the BCBS staging area. Thanks, we appreciate it.

Last Year’s 25th Annual UMV Toy Run 2011

United Motorcyclists of Vermont 25th Annual Toy Run Saturday, August 13, 2011

The 25th Annual Toy Run to support Shriner’s Hospitals for Children will be held on Saturday, August 13, 2011. We’ll meet at the Blue Cross Blue Shield parking lot as usual, and leave for the State House at noon.

Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate; the Shriners can always use cash donations too.

We’ll have more details as they come along and we will be back at the State House this year.

Starting Points

Newport – Gardner Park 7:00 AM led by Randy Wells 802-754-2352

St. Johnsbury – Green Mountain Mall 9:00 AM led by Randy Wells 802-754-2352

Morrisville – Stone Grill Restaurant 8:30 led by Rick Lawrence 802-988-4669

Middlebury – McDonalds led by Alex Demers 802-388-7300

Colchester – Spanked Puppy led by Don Henn 802-635-6612

25th Annual UMV Toy Run 2011

UMV 25th Annual Toy Run

UMV 25th Annual Toy Run

Thanks to everyone who showed up and helped with this year’s Toy Run. We had around 900 motorcycles and collected a lot of toys (and money) for kids at Shriners Hospitals for Children. We’re put up some photos from this year’s Toy Run and from the last two. We recently updated our Website and instead of putting the photo gallery here, we’re putting it on Facebook. Please add any photos you have and want to share.

The 25th Annual Toy Run was a great success. We had between 800 and 900 bikes, we lost count at about 850 so it’s closer to 900. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, just like it always is for the Toy Run.

This year UMV raffled off a Kikker Motorcycle at the Toy Run. The winner donated $1,000 to the Shriners after being told he had won. Nice way to give back to the community.

VT State Senator Joe Benning addressing the crowd at the 25th Annual Toy Run

UMV 25th Annual Toy Run

Vermont state senator Joe Benning was the guest speaker. Both the governor and lieutenant governor had been invited. Senator Benning is a long time motorcyclist, former member of Freedom of the Road for Vermont (UMV’s predecessor) and a supporter of motorcyclists’ rights. He spoke of a conversation he had with Rod Clark, one of the organizers of the 1st Toy Run.

“The idea for a toy run was hatched at the very first FOR-Vermont organizational meeting in the summer of 1986. We knew the importance of building credibility and avoiding becoming known as just “the helmet law guys.”

We decided to hold it in August for a simple reason; we trusted the weather more. Rain is more likely in July and it might snow in September. So August 16 it was.

We enlisted WDEV as co-sponsor to gain coverage and set the following Saturday as a rain date. Bad idea! More on that later.

I approached Central Vermont Community Action as a potential recipient of the toys. They turned us down, saying we were too “political.” This in spite of the fact that we hadn’t yet done anything political. Then we were also rebuffed by the state Social and Rehabilitation Services Department.

I dropped a dime on the bureaucrats, took these rejections to the media and got huge coverage; CVCAC and the state looked like fools and FOR-Vermont was off and running as “the good guys.”

That’s when we approached the Shriners and forged a lasting relationship.

We started the run at Dubois Trucking on Route 14 in Barre. On the day of the run, it drizzled and threatened rain. I was in a panic, wondering whether to postpone it until the rain date. Then I realized there’d be no way to get the word out, so we went ahead.

About 125 bikes showed up on a cloudy, overcast dreary day, but the toy run went off without a hitch. That night we partied in a field alongside a road in Craftsbury.

And now, as Paul Harvey said, you know “the rest of the story.” Hope this helps. And please tell everybody I said hi. Even though I’m probably just a forgotten piece of ancient history by now, my heart is still with the movement.

Ride safe, ride free, ride proud.”

The Toy Run is held the second Saturday of August every year. We stage at the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) parking lot in Berlin, VT. The ride/parade to the State House (the people’s house) starts at noon sharp. Please be at BCBS well before 11:00 to prepare for this police escorted ride.

2010 UMV Toy Run

View our slideshow of the 2010 Annual Toy Run. Hope to see you Saturday, August 13, 2011 for the 25th Annual Toy Run.

Map To Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) In Berlin, VT

445 Industrial Ave.
Berlin, VT 05602

View Larger Map

2 thoughts on “Annual Toy Run

    • Great, it’s the 25th and we’re hoping for a good turnout. We’re not sure if Vermont’s new governor will be there or not yet, he can’t confirm that far out.

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