You don't need to have a motorcycle or a reindeer-powered sleigh to put smiles on the faces of needy kids this year. • A new toy and big heart will do. • On Saturday, the seventh annual Palm Harbor Fall Bike Fest and Toys for Tots Ride will rumble into historic downtown Palm Harbor with an easy riders toy run, motorcycle and car shows, live music, food and festivities.
There is no admission charge for the street party, but festivalgoers are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
The celebration, with most activities from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, is presented by Old Palm Harbor Main Street, a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve and promote the quaint little village.
"Proceeds raise money to maintain our historic district, and the toys will benefit children who may not otherwise have a Christmas," said executive director Robin Husbands-Cauchi.
A new twist this year is tonight's Poker Walk, when even a bad hand can win a prize.
At 6:30 p.m., players will assemble at the law offices of Fran Haasch, at Nebraska and Omaha (County Road 1). They will proceed to five historic district restaurants, where they will draw cards.
The play will end at 9 p.m. at Peggy O'Neill's Irish Pub with gift certificate giveaways and prizes awarded for the best and worst hands.
Each hand is $10, and players can opt for additional cards at $5 apiece. Proceeds benefit Old Palm Harbor Main Street.
On Saturday, bike registration will begin at 9 a.m., with kickstands up at noon. Bikers pay $10 to ride with the procession or $5 with a new toy donation.
Traditionally, the toy ride convenes in the Walmart parking lot at Alderman Road, but because of store construction, it will start at the Causeway Plaza in Dunedin at Alt. U.S. 19 and Curlew Road.
Bob Fletcher, owner of Fletcher's Harley-Davidson in Clearwater, will lead the pack, traveling over the Dunedin Causeway to Honeymoon Island and back, taking Curlew, Belcher, Klosterman, Alt. 19 and Florida Avenue to the street party.
"We had nearly 370 bikers last year and are expecting 400 to 450 this year," Husbands-Cauchi said.
Saturday's street party takes place on Florida and Georgia avenues with car and cycle shows, an area for kids, bands, and plenty of food and merchandise.
The music begins at 1 p.m. with the Defendants. Highway to Hell, an AC/DC tribute band, takes the stage at 3:30 p.m.; the Greg Billings Band, at 6:30 p.m.
Enjoy displays of unique and classic cars by the Palm Harbor Car Show, founded by Suzann and Chris Painter. Proceeds from registrations will benefit Old Palm Harbor Main Street, which manages the historic Rheba Sutton White Chapel and Harbor Hall, where the couple renewed their vows.
Painter said she expects 100 to 150 cars. "All makes, all models and all years" are accepted, she said.
Car registration begins at 11 a.m.; the car show runs from 1 to 6 p.m. Awards are handed out at 5 p.m.
Bike enthusiasts will enjoy the bike show from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Register bikes beginning at 10 a.m. Entry fee is $10 per bike.
Food will be abundant, from turkey legs to barbecue, Greek specialties, seafood, pizza and burgers.
About 30 vendors will sell cigars, T-shirts, jewelry, clothing and decorative items. Paint and pinstripe artists will customize bikes and golf carts on the spot.
Grab a massage or psychic reading, too.
"You don't have to be a biker to enjoy all this event has to offer," Husbands-Cauchi said.
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