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Motorcyclists brave cold for Secret Santa program
Riders deliver presents to Chattahoochee Baptist Association
Lauri Erenstoft of Dacula photographs all the motorcyclists riding into the Chattahoochee Baptist Association Sunday for the 16th annual Secret Santa motorcycle run. Almost 100 motorcyclists participated in the ride. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Bundled against the cold, with some wearing Santa hats and other festive garb, nearly 100 motorcyclists streamed down McEver Road on Sunday.

They traveled as a pack, but they might as well have formed one long sleigh carrying presents for the Chattahoochee Baptist Association’s annual Secret Santa program.

With the Hall County Sheriff’s Office holding back traffic, the bikers poured into the association office to deliver stuffed animals, board games and a bevy of other toys for some 1,100 needy children this holiday season.

"That’s an enormous task," said Mike Walston, the director of church and community ministries at the association, as he welcomed and thanked the bikers and program volunteers.

"It takes not only the 70 churches in the association but all the businesses in our community, motorcycle groups, all kinds of folks," he said.

Walston also prayed with the group, which was able to warm up with coffee and refreshments. "Father, thank you again for doing the impossible and using us to do that," he said.

Frazier’s Harley Davidson on Friendship Road in Buford organizes the annual motorcycle run, which completed its 16th year.

Secret Santa volunteer Joyce Patrick said the association will help some 485 qualified families this year, about 100 more than last year. The families will get to pick out two toys per child from Dec. 14 to 16.

The bikers brought the presents via a pickup truck and enclosed trailer, which was parked near a set of doors at the association offices and then emptied to an inside storage room.

Larry Adams, activities officer for the North Georgia Harley Owners Group, said he has been helping at the event for 12 years.

"We just enjoy it. It gets our Christmas off on the right foot," he said.

Adams’ daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were helping him in the effort.

"Our chapter goes out each year and buys at least $500 worth of toys and $500 worth of bicycles to go toward this," he said.

"The grandkids helped do the shopping and they wanted to come up and help unload the toys."

As for the bone-chilling cold, Adams said that was nothing.

"Every year it’s cold, but we don’t mind," he said.