110 Boats Participate in 22nd Annual Charity Event on Florida’s St. Johns River
Santa arrived early in Palatka County, Florida last week. The 22nd annual Velocity Powerboats Toys Tour ran Dec. 2-4, on the St. Johns River and collected a record $100,000 worth of toys for area children in need, and delivered them by boat. Event organizers report the toys were donated to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department for distribution to underprivileged children and young victims of domestic violence.
Mercury Racing was one of many event sponsors of the Toys Tour.
The annual event began on Friday as 62 boats joined the Cigarette Racing-sponsored Dunn’s Creek Run on a twisty section of the St. Johns River to Crescent Lake for lunch at Three Bananas. On Friday evening Mystic Powerboats sponsored the Kids Fest at Riverfront Park in downtown Palatka featuring food, games and music hosted by DJ Louie Matos and Del Flores of the Spartan Powerboat Club.
Saturday morning saw a fleet of 110 performance boats staging at Riverfront Park for the main event, paced by Scott McCormick of title sponsor Velocity Powerboats, on the St. Johns River to the first stop and toy drop at Welka Public Docks where toys were distributed to representatives of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. The fleet motored on to lunch at Renegades On The River and then on to the pristine waters of Silver Glen Springs. The tour re-traced the route back to Riverfront Park for a celebratory banquet under huge tents with fine food, a band, a DJ, and door prizes.
“This event continues to grow and I believe it has become one of the largest charitable powerboat runs in the country,” said Walt Braithwaite, the vice president of Velocity Powerboats and the executive director of Toys Tour, Inc., a nonprofit charity. “We have attendees from across the country, including Renee and Ken Lalonde of the 1000 Island Poker run, who made a very generous donation, and Jackie and Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club, who were event sponsors. Our new banquet at the park was a big hit with everyone, and the generosity of those donating both toys and cash was unbelievable.”
The event wrapped on Sunday afternoon with a run to Jacksonville and lunch at Whitey’s Fish Camp. The 2023 Toys Tour will be held on December 1-2. Please visit ToysTour.org for additional event information.