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The Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade returns

The world’s largest motorcycle parade is set for Sunday along Western Avenue.

Ruben Rojas, of Burbank, Ill., unloads gifts from his motorcycle trailer at the end of the parade in 2012.
The Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade returns Sunday to Western Avenue. It was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Sun-Times file

Bikers in Santa hats will take to Western Avenue on Sunday with their motorcycles adorned in tinsel.

The Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade is back after a yearlong hiatus. Motorcyclists need to contribute at least one new, unwrapped toy to participate.

The parade has been a Chicago tradition for more than four decades. Last year, the parade was canceled because of the pandemic, though organizers continued to collect toys for children in Chicago and the suburbs.

This year, Chicagoland Toys for Tots will be accepting toy donations at drop boxes in the Chicago area and in Indiana. The toys will be distributed to children at youth groups, shelters, hospitals and group homes around the city ahead of the holidays.

“With everything going on in the world everyone had a rough year, and we want to make it better,” said George Lester Fortier, the president of Chicagoland Toys for Tots. “Now that we have the parade back, we hope to help more families than before because we know there is more and more of a need.”

Known as the world’s largest motorcycle parade, this year’s route will start at 9:30 a.m. at Dan Ryan Woods, near 83rd Street and Western Avenue, and end at Foster and Grand avenues. Motorcyclists have been instructed not to throw candy in the streets or strap stuffed animals to their vehicles. For information about donating, go to