Celebrating its 22rd anniversary this year, the Toys Tour is coming back December 2-4 with a new operating venue in Palatka, Fla. The 2022 event will be based out of Riverfront Park, which is located in the small city’s downtown area.
Among the last organized events on the water of any go-fast boating season, the Toys Tour returns to Palatka, Fla., December 2-4. Photo from the 2021 event by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“The new venue will allow participants to have their boats in the water, use of the Palatka boat ramp, better parking, and at a larger central location that is logistically better for all,” explained Walt Braithwaite, the vice president of Velocity Powerboats and the executive director of Toys Tour, Inc., a 501(3)C nonprofit charity. “VIP sponsors will have their own private docks and exclusive perks through the entire event.”
Founded 22 years ago by Rus Matos, the Toys Tour collects gift for children who would otherwise have to without during the holidays. Event partners include the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, which handles distribution of the toys donated by the Toys Tour participants and the Putnam County Tourism Council, as well as sponsors from across the high-performance marine industry.
The 2021 event attracted 136 registered boats and more than 500 participants who donated more than 1,000 toys.
“This year’s Toys Tour will include a late Friday afternoon party for the kids that will feature Santa and Mrs. Clause, the Jacksonville Jaguars mascot, Jax, and a few Jaguars cheerleaders,” said Braithwaite. “Also new this year, the Friday night kickoff party will include a pig roast and dance party featuring celebrity DJ Louie.
Would-be participants can register through the Toys Tour website. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and potential backers can reach out directly to Walt Braithwaite via email at [email protected].