Christmas cruise: Hundreds of bikers turn out for Florence Lions Club Toy Run

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Hundreds of motorcyclists led by Santa and the Grinch cruised across Florence Sunday for the annual Florence Lions Club Toy Run.

Peggy Hudson, the event’s chairwoman, said it was the biggest turnout yet.

“It takes a lot of time to get all of this together, but when you have a good turnout like this, it makes you feel really good,” Hudson said.

Hudson said the event has been held for nearly 40 years. Bikers give either a toy or a cash donation to participate.

“There are so many children in the Pee Dee area, especially since COVID, that their parents just don’t have the money,” Hudson said. “Every child needs a toy at Christmas.”

Hudson said about 300 bikers showed up this year.

“We always try to be here for this. It’s just great to be a part of something this big,” Lee Merriman with the Gallant Warriors Motorcycle Club said. “Anything we can do to help the children. That’s what we are all about.”

Merriman said there is nothing quite like riding with such a large group.

“It is exhilarating,” Merriman said. “It’s not like going out and taking a little stroll. It’s a completely different ball game.”

Police officers closed down intersections and escorted the riders from the Florence Center to the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fairgrounds.

“This speaks volumes for bikers,” Billy Jarrell, co-chairman of the Toy Run, said. “They act tough, but they’ve got big hearts and easy pocketbooks.”

The toys were given to several local organizations to distribute to the community.

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