Commissioners Give Green Light for Toy Run Fundraiser

Each December motorcycle riders dressed as Santa and his elves come from far and wide to deliver toys. 30,000 riders would roar from Hallandale Beach to Markham Park, where a big party would also raise money for charities.

On Tuesday Sunrise City Commissioners heard from Jamie McDonnell, the man who says he came forward to start a new ride when he was told that the organizers of the three decades-old ride weren't going to do it this year.

"They stated they were no longer going to do the Toy Run," McDonnell said. The official name of the ride was the Toys in the Sun Run.

McDonnell says he's got $250,000 to $500,000 that would be going to Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital and the Broward Boys and Girls Club. But that was in jeopardy because the City of Sunrise initially didn't give the green light to close a part of State Road 84 for the run and to serve alcohol in Markham Park. Mayor Mike Ryan said that McDonnell's group was lacking details in their original paperwork and wasn't at the Commission meeting when it was discussed.

Tuesday McDonnell said he wanted to move forward. 

"I didn't want to come here and go back and forth over what happened," McDonnell said.

But there was a sometimes tense back and forth before the Commission approved his plan by a vote of 3 to 2.

McDonnell was relieved.

"I am very excited for all the kids. It was a little miscommunication," McDonnell said. "Thank God we had three people voting for us and the other two and we ended up winning today."

"This has been a fantastic event. The community loves the event," Ryan said. "We just need to make sure the tax payers were protected, the procedures were followed and as we have always done for these events at Markham Park, we will bend over backwards to make sure it gets done."

With the City of Sunrise giving its go-ahead, the organizers say the only have some minor details to work out with the Florida Department of Transportation and the City of Hallandale Beach. They expect that to happen shortly, and the ride for December 8 will be good to go.

The organizers of the original Toys in the Sun Run are having their event at Pompano Beach this year on December 7. They are asking anyone whether they are on a motorcycle or not to come and donate a toy and join the festival.

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