The roar of more than 100 engines will liven up our city's streets on Saturday, as bikers converge in Ballarat for the annual Christmas Toy Run appeal.
This year's run will see motorbike convoys taking off on four different routes - north, south, east and west - each to raise donations for disadvantaged families across the region.
Ballarat Bike Night has partnered with the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative for the 2023 Toy Run, which will start on Saturday at the carpark on Davis Street and Scott Parade and end at BADAC on Armstrong Street.
Toy donations have been open for a couple of weeks now, with an even larger amount of toys being donated to the cause this year from individuals and businesses despite the year's tough economic circumstances.
Organiser Casey Bandy said the event pulled in motorbike riders from across the state, all together for a fun time and the satisfaction of supporting an important cause.
"Last year we had people from as far away as Shepparton, Bairnsdale, Warrnambool, Horsham," he said.
"Being that the Ballarat toy run has predominantly been a smaller toy run that goes from Buninyong to Ballarat, having the big rides, the bike riders themselves love it.
"We are out for about three hours on the bikes. They love getting out, opening them up, getting a bit of wind on the face and some bugs in the teeth."
Any motorbike riders are invited to come along and join the event, which will culminate in a sausage sizzle at BADAC's offices.
"Last year we had about 220 bikes finish. We had about 150 bikes when we started, and then we had over 200 bikes by the end of the day. We just pick people up along the way," Mr Bandy said.
"I enjoy hanging out with mates, going for a ride. The restoration of humanity when people actually give.
"Last year I had someone who I had known for quite some time, who had been in a destitute situation. Last year they came around and donated because they wanted to give back. That is the sort of thing that restores your faith in humanity."
So far the most impressive donation of toys has come from Ballarat union members, who trucked in about 100 toys to BADAC earlier this week.
The toys will be distributed through BADAC, who will host a Christmas family fun day on December 15.
Children who will receive the gifts include children in residential care and foster care, and children in need.
BADAC Koori Youth officer Nikki Bell said support for the event would help the Aboriginal cooperative better serve the Ballarat community.
"We put on a massive event, heaps of toys. Each person will get a toy that comes down," Ms Bell said.
"We have face painters. We have a petting zoo that is run by an Aboriginal woman, she is from Meredith. We get people in from outside of Ballarat which is awesome. A dunk tank, with all of our staff, the kids will get a chance to dunk us.
"(BADAC) offers a range of activities around the year based around culture. Bringing kids together to meet other Aboriginal kids in the community, just to build up those friendships that last for years.
"All of us other BADAC workers have had that growing up and being able to give that to the kids, and making sure they have those strong relationships."
BADAC culture and public relations executive Shu Brown said he had been blown-away by the amount of support the Toy Run had received already this year from the Ballarat community.
"For the community, and everyone, it is a hard time, with costs and rates going up. We see that in our community, and we do everything we can to support our community. To see kids be able to get a present this year is so amazing," Mr Brown said.
"We have been putting Christmas hampers together this year for families because people are struggling. Some people might put food over toys for their children, or vice-versa.
"We want to make sure our community have everything they need to celebrate Christmas with their family. Everyone gets a gift, everyone gets fed. That is what we need."
The 2023 Ballarat Christmas Toy Run will begin at 9am on December 9 at Ballarat East Oval. Riders will leave from about 10am.
For more information, or to donate contact BADAC via https://www.badac.net.au/