Santa was there. There were elves busy in the toy warehouse.
The only thing truly missing from the 32nd annual Santa’s Anonymous Society’s Toy Run Sunday, Sept. 13, was the herd of reindeer, usually arriving in one big herd but showing up individually Sunday.
Normally, the ‘reindeer’ are motorcyclists who come from throughout the Okanagan-Shuswap region with a toy strapped to their machine. They congregate at Coldstream’s Kalamalka Lake Lookout before being led by Santa Claus on his bike out to Lumby, and the Lions Campground, before heading to Vernon to drop off the toys at the society’s warehouse off 29th Street.
“This year, we took a different format due to the ongoing concerns around COVID-19,” said Santa’s Anonymous Society president Perry Wainwright Sunday at the warehouse, complete with Santa-looking beard (grown during the pandemic).
“Instead of the usual run, participants were asked to bring their donations directly to our Vernon location where volunteers will have a drop-off barrel set up.”
Santa, said Wainwright, still needs to help collect new toys for the upcoming Christmas season.
Among those showing support was Vicki Dean, of Dean’s Taylor Shop, who donated a pair of $50 gift certificates for the event’s draw prizes, and who could be seen riding her motorcycle through town with a giant stuffed bear strapped to the back.
Ron Mohr and Pam Conway ventured to Vernon on Ron’s bike from Sicamous and donated a couple of toys.
“It was a nice day for a ride, despite the (wildfire) smoke in the air,” said Mohr.
The event ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and brought in 65 toys and $300 in donations.
“It’s all good,” said Wainwright. “We raised more awareness of where Santa’s Anonymous was located and were able to let people know what we’re about.”
Also helping out the society with draw prizes were longtime event supporters Uncle Dave’s Pizza (one free pizza per month for a year); Intermezzo Restaurant ($50 gift card); Hot Spot on 6th Restaurant (gift certificate); D&B Home Fires (2XL men’s leather jacket); and MOJO Wine Tours (half-day tour for four).
“A big thank you to our prize donators and to the people dropping off toys and donations helping us help children this year and next year,” said Wainwright.