CHICAGOLAND TOYS FOR TOTS MOTORCYCLE PARADE
1978--The first Parade-1 motorcycle, 3 people. Ed "Aminal" Wisniewski, Viet Nam veteran, organized the Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade at his Chicago motorcycle shop, Fantasy Choppers. They departed from Fantasy Choppers, 2532 West 63rd Street, on Wednesday, December 13, 1978 and rode to the Glenview Naval Air Station with a van half-filled with toys and Aminal riding Puppy's Sportster. Aminal, Mark-off, Namu, Princess, Thor, and Puppy were involved with the first run, but only Aminal, Puppy and Thor were actually on the 1978 ride.
1979--2nd run-Saturday, December 1,1979. Assisted by The Venture Inn on 79th Street, 50 people participated and left from 79th Street, rode north on Western Avenue to the Fourth Division Marine Corps Center on Foster Avenue, at the river.
1980--3rd run-Saturday, December 6,1980. 200 bikers attend. Some media coverage. Assemble on 79th Street.
1981--4th run-Saturday, December 5,1981. 1500 attend. First year for Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade pins. First year for parade permit. Leave from 79th Street.
1982--5th run-Saturday, December 4,1982. Over 2000 people attend. Meet on 79th Street.
1983--6th run-Saturday, December 3,1983. About 2000 riders. Police escort from 79th Street.
1984--7th run-Saturday, December 1,1984. About 2000 participate. Sunny and dry. Last time on 79th Street.
1985--8th run-Saturday, December 7,1985. About 2000 riders. Assemble in the Dan Ryan Woods for the first time.
1986--9th run-Saturday, December 6,1986. About 3000 attend. Dan Ryan Woods remains as the starting point to the present day.
1987--10th run-Saturday, December 5,1987. About 3,000 riders. Sunny and dry. Malcolm Forbes rides Elizabeth Taylor's "Purple Passion" Harley with his friends, "The Capitalist Tools". Starts at Noon.
1988--11th run-Saturday, December 3,1988. About 4,000 riders. Sunny and dry. Starts at Noon.
1989--12th run-Saturday, December 2,1989. About 5,000 riders. Cold and snow. Starts at Noon.
1990--13th run-Saturday, December 1,1990. No Parade. Sunny and dry. Operation Desert Storm puts Marines on alert and cancels parade. Bikers assemble in the Dan Ryan Woods to donate toys and then leave.
1991--14th run-Saturday, December 7,1991. About 5,000 riders. Cold, wet, cloudy. Starts at Noon. Starts in the Dan Ryan Woods. Aminal is President.
1992--15th run-Saturday, December 5,1992. About 5,000 riders. Sunny, cold, dry. Billboard over Western Avenue. Aminal is President. Special 15 year pin. Noon start.
1993--16th run-Saturday, December 4,1993. About 5,000 riders. Cloudy. Aminal is President. Last Parade on a Saturday. Parade starts at Noon.
1994--17th run-Sunday, December 4,1994. About 10,000 riders. Cloudy. First Sunday Parade. Parade starts at 10:30 am. Aminal resigns. Ed Mitchell becomes President. Harley raffle.
1995--18th run-Sunday, December 3,1995. 10:30 am start. Sunny, warm, 53 degrees. About 17,000 riders. Ed Mitchell is President. Couple married at The Woods. First Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Party in Rosemont. Harley raffle.
1996--19th run-Sunday, December 1,1996. About 4,000 riders. Ed Mitchell is President. Second Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Party. First Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade bike show at St. Joseph. Harley raffle.
1997--20th run-Sunday, December 7,1997. About 15,000 riders. 10:30 start. Cloudy. Special 20 year pin. "Big Lou" Kaczmarek is President. Third Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Party in Rosemont. Harley raffle.
1998--21st run-Sunday, December 6, 1998. About 22,000 riders. First year for Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Mattel Hot Wheels Motorcycle (black). Rain. Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Coloring book. "Big Lou" Kaczmarek is President. Last Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Party in Rosemont. Harley raffle. --$139,000 distributed.
1999--22nd run-Sunday, December 5, 1999. About 15,000 riders. Starts at 10:30 am. Rain and snow. "Big Lou" Kaczmarek resigns. "Tiger Mark" Atilano becomes President. Second Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Hot Wheels bike (white). Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Website started at www.ChicagolandTFT.org. 2 Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade cable TV shows. Harley raffle. --$152,000 distributed.
2000--23rd run-Sunday, December 3, 2000. About 25,000 riders. Starts at 9:30 am. Sunny and cold. President "Tiger Mark" Atilano. Third Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Hot Wheels bike (red). New patch. Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Warehouse. Santa Fe locomotive in Parade. 12 Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade cable TV shows. Harley raffle. --$99,000 distributed
2001--24th run-Sunday, December 2, 2001. Over 30,000 riders. 9:30 start. Sunny and pleasant. New ceramic Bear on cycle. Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Christmas cards. 12 Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade cable TV shows. Harley raffle. --$101,250 distributed.
2002--25th Silver Anniversary Parade-Sunday, December 1, 2002. About 18,000 riders. Clear and very cold. 9:30 start. President "Tiger Mark" Atilano. Fourth Hot Wheels Bike Special Silver Anniversary Edition (silver). Second ceramic 25th Anniversary Biker Bear. 13 Chicago Cable TV shows. Harley Raffle. Sturgis Rally Raffle. 25th Anniversary special event motorcycle and car Illinois license plates. Special 25th Anniversary pins. Special 25th Anniversary T-shirts and jackets.
2003--26th Parade-Sunday, December 7, 2003. 9:30AM start. Sunny, 45 degrees. About 40,000 riders participate. "Tiger Mark" is President. New gray shirts and sweats. First Chicagoland Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade Christmas Ornament(White). 13 cable TV shows. Harley raffle. Sturgis Vacation Raffle. "Corbin's Ride On" TV show coverage. Parade was dedicated to the memory of Ed Johnson #124. Jack's Update # 43 Dec. 11 2003
2004--27th Parade-Sunday, December 5, 2004. 9:30AM start. Clear, 48 degrees. About 45,500 riders participate. Collected over 70,000 toys. "Cooch" is President. 2005 Harley raffle. First year of Donation Tags. Christmas Ornament (Red). Parade was dedicated to the memory of Jack "Sidecar" Wheeler. #71 "Later Dude".
2005--28th Parade-Sunday, December 4, 2005. 9:30AM start. Snow, Cold. About 1,500 riders collected 3,000 toys. "Cooch" is President. 2006 Harley raffle. Christmas Ornament (Green). Parade was dedicated to the memory of Frank Griseto (12-5-2004) - DuPage County Sheriff's Deputy.
2006--29th Parade-Sunday, December 3, 2006. 9:30AM start. A bone chilling 18 degrees and snow from the previous day didn't keep about 1,000 dedicated motorcyclists from delivering 2,000 toys to the marine reserve center. "Cooch" is President. 2007 Harley raffle. First year for the lighted Crystal Collectable. Christmas Ornament (Blue). Parade was dedicated to the memory of Joe Billy ( #50), Mickey Jorgensen and Duncan Black.
2007--30th Parade-Sunday, December 2, 2007. 9:30AM start. After an evening that started with a light snowfall that turned into sleet, about 1,000 bikes brought in 4,000 toys to the marine reserve center. "Cooch" is President. New this was the Biker Bell collectable. 2008 Harley raffle. Sturgis raffle, second year of the lighted Crystal Collectable. Christmas Ornament (Black). Parade was dedicated to the memory of Frank "Dawg" Moraza (#780) and Ray " Moose" Musaatto ( #735)
2008--31st Parade-Sunday, December 7th, 2008 Pearl Harbor Day. A bone chilling 9 degrees and snow from the day before didn't stop about 500 bikers and many volunteers from delivering 3,428 toys and 22 bikes to the Marine Reserve Center. Santo Procenti is President. New shirt design and cash raffles. Parade dedicated to: Soldiers in the 24th U S M C, Ellen Mitchell (#666), Terry "Sugar" Agnello (#205),Betty Overman (#308), Ron "Taz" Bernichio (#654) and Elenor "Pin Lady" Nash.
2009--32nd Parade-Sunday, December 6, 2009. 9:30 A.M. start. A cold start 17 degrees, warming to 38 degrees. A great start for our new Parade Coordinator Joy Black. Parade ending at a new location, Lane Tech High School. An estimated 35,000 dedicated motorcyclist and numerous volunteers delivered 45 to 50,000 toys for the Marines Toys for Tots 62nd year. A GREAT job done by all!! THANK YOU!! Santo is President. New shirt design. This year’s Parade was dedicated to all our Men and Women of our Armed Forces and the memory of Uncle Billy Gordon # 1147, James Ralph # 128, and Jim “JINGELS” White (one of Santa’s elves’) they will be missed.
2010 -- 33rd Parade- Sunday December 5th 2010 9:30am start. A cold 23 degrees, wet and snow from the day before. Parade dedicated to the memory of Michael " Joker" Bender #201, Bob Carroll-#189- Nov.22, 2010, Ed May-#637-April 15, 2010, and Kim McFee-#1651-Nov 4, 2010. Lester Fortier is President.
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