CREMONA - It was a huge turnout on Sept. 15 at the Big Red Barn Heritage Centre just outside of Cremona for the Magic of Christmas Toy Run. The event featured almost 600 motorcycle enthusiasts gathering at the end of their run for a turkey dinner, live music, auctions and more.
Cheryl Quife, co-founder and co-chair of the run, said the event did very well raising an impressive $33,997.
"This is our sixth year doing it but our first year doing it in Cremona," said Quife. "We used to finish in Aldersyde but they were having a dog show so we needed a new location. Deborah (Rice-Salomons) at the Big Red Barn stepped up right away."
Quife said everybody in Cremona and the area has been very supportive of the run.
"The mayor and town council, everyone in this area has been so welcoming," she said. "It's been fantastic."
The toy run began at the Century Downs Casino in Balzac with registration and breakfast. The riders then made their way up through the country ending up at the red barn in Cremona, said Quife.
Quife said the nearly $34,000 raised as well as a couple of U-hauls full of toys will be distributed to those in need in the Calgary area.
"We just want to give a big thank you to everyone in the area for being so accommodating to us," she said. "We hope to see everyone back here again next year."
Bill Lockhurst from Calgary was one of the motorcycle enthusiasts who cruised up as part of the run.
"We left Century Downs and went north and then cut through Crossfield because there was construction," said Lockhurst. "We went up through Dogpound and out to here. It was a nice country run."
Lockhurst said he and his wife have gone on many different rides over the years but the Magic of Christmas is one that's special.
"It's important for the kids," he said. "It's not just about the money. There are lots of kids out there who don't get what they need at the holidays. This is one thing that helps out the kids."