JAY — Changes are in store for the 21st annual Whistle Stop Toy Run, beginning with moving the date from the last Saturday in September to the second Saturday, Sept. 9, to avoid conflict with the Apple Pumpkin Festival. The free barbecue will take place in Canton in the same area where the toys are dropped off.

The rain-or-shine event brings ATV riders of all ages and from every corner of the state. In past years, riders from many New England states have participated and the event has collected $79,138.17 in toys and monetary donations.

The area north of Jay Plaza will not be available for parking or the gathering and barbecue after the toy run. Bob Dalot, president of Western Maine ATV Club, and the other clubs that sponsor the event, Brettuns Wheelers ATV Club in Livermore and Canton Trail Riders, with assistance from Roxbury Riders, have been searching for an area that will accommodate the event.

There will be limited parking at the beginning of the Whistle Stop Trailhead in Farmington, off the Town Farm Road, but for those who usually park at Jay Plaza, there will be parking at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay. The ATVs will travel down the hill to cross Main Street, onto French Falls Road, and to the ATV trail north. By law, anyone under 18 must wear helmets.

Riders will meet at the school at 7:30 a.m. or at the end of the Whistle Stop Trail at 9 a.m. Hot coffee and doughnuts will be available in Farmington. Everyone must register between 8 and 9:45 a.m. when meal tickets will be handed out and raffle tickets will be sold.

The ATVs will leave Farmington at 10 a.m. to ride to Canton (and it is rumored that Santa Claus himself will lead the parade) to present the toys to Operation Santa Claus. Riders will stay in Canton for the barbecue.

All toys will be distributed locally by Western Maine Community Action. As it was last year, a table of desserts will be on sale to benefit the toy run. Raffle winners will be announced in Canton.

Participants are asked to bring a new toy or cash donation.

FMI, volunteer: contact [email protected], 207-897-2926, 207-441-5090, 207-357-4460, 207-897-5501.

With a spectacular view of Western Maine and eastern New Hampshire mountains behind them, a participant in Satuday’s Roxbury ATV Riders Club Christmas in July ATV Toy Run photographs nearby Record Hill Wind LLC wind turbines in Roxbury.

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