FARMINGTON — The WhistleStop Trail 17th Annual Toy Run will be held rain or shine, Saturday, Sept. 28, and registration will be between 8 and 9:45 a.m., at the Park and Ride area off the Town Farm Road in West Farmington. Those wanting a longer ride can meet at the unpaved lot on the north side of Jay Plaza at 7:30 a.m., and ride to the end of the Whistle Stop Trail to register.

Bring a new toy (protected from dust) or a cash donation. For everyone’s safety, riders are asked to please stay together as a group and not indulge in horseplay.

The ride is sponsored by four clubs, Western Maine ATV, Canton Trail Riders, Mountain View ATV  Club of Mt. Vernon and the Brettun’s Wheelers ATV. Roxbury ATV Club generously donates the use of tents to shelter the participants, cooks and servers during the free barbecue at Jay Plaza.

The ride will leave Farmington at 10 a.m. and ride to Canton, where they will leave the toys with representatives from the Western Maine Community Action Program, then on to Jay, a nearly 60-mile round trip.

The price of hosting this event rises every year, even shared by four clubs, but the focus is on helping children in the community have a happier Christmas, not fund raising.

“The community has always supported us,” said Bob Dalot, president of WMATV. “We do this for the kids, not to make money.”


The toys and money collected in donations, totaling more than $56,000 over the past 16 years, are handed over to the Western Maine Community Action Program in Wilton. Their yearly Operation Santa Claus program works closely with the ATV clubs, local businesses and organizations to provide gifts to the more than 1200 children and elderly individuals who are served by the program. They sort and wrap the presents to help Maine families in need through the holidays.

Every year, participants travel from all over the state to bring a toy or a donation for this cause. In past years, riders have come from as far away as Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“We hold this event rain or shine and are at the mercy of the weather. We ride in all types of weather, freezing temperatures, hurricane winds and rain, hot and dusty,” he added. “We do get calls from people all over, but weather is usually what decides the amount of riders that we get.”

It is true that during the riding season, quick downpours make trail riding an adventure, so many carry rain gear for just that purpose. Most riders also carry goggles to protect their eyes from dust. By law, anyone under 18 must wear helmets. Anyone planning to attend the Toy Run should probably keep those facts in mind.

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