Nevada County Food & Toy Run draws hundreds of bikers | TheUnion.com

Nevada County Food & Toy Run draws hundreds of bikers

The Christmas season starts for Tom Parilo with the Nevada County Food & Toy Run.

One of almost 2,000 motorcyclists who participated in the Saturday run, Parilo drove through city streets on his way to the Nevada County Fairgrounds where 300 families received toys and food.

Onlookers gathered along sidewalks to watch the motorcyclists pass. Some gave high fives as the long train of riders swept through.

"It's kind of a kickoff to our Christmas season," Parilo said. "It leaves a lump in my throat."

Michael Straight, another rider, said he feels the same.

"It's hard to express," Straight said. "It's so phenomenal. People on the streets are so happy. It just puts us in the Christmas spirit of giving."

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This year led Thom Staser, CEO and founder of the run, to get 150 turkeys, 150 5-pound hams and 300 5-pound bags of potatoes for needy families.

"And they're all gone," Staser said Sunday. "I think each kid got four toys. You're looking at 4,000 to 5,000 toys."

The 26th year of the toy run connected motorcycle-riding gift givers to families who need help. Staser had no final attendance numbers on Sunday, though he estimated that 10,000 to 13,000 people line the streets and watch each year. He called this year's run a massive success.

"The toys are just overflowing," he said.

It's an event that keeps drawing back riders like Straight and Parilo.

"It's one of the best events," Straight said. "It's just so much fun. The energy is so wonderful. It's kind of that energy that Thom Staser has created."

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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