Rallying for Children

Rallying for Children

Saturday's fund-raiser, Poker Run starts at Kilroy's restaurant.

A group of motorcycle enthusiasts hope the unseasonably warm weather will help them brighten the holiday season for area children when the Wednesday Night Crew has its third annual Toys for Tots rally Saturday afternoon.

The event, which takes place Nov. 5 at Buffalo Wing University in the Court House Plaza Shopping Center on Willard Way in Fairfax, is the fourth year the Wednesday Night Crew has teamed up with the organization that provides toys for needy families during the holiday season, said Rusty Hall, president and founder of the group.

"The Wednesday Night Crew is a group of about 300 riders that like to get together to have fun and help out the community," said Hall. In addition to the annual Toys for Tots rally, the group has helped Inova Fairfax Hospital For Children with fund-raisers in the past.

The Toys for Tots rally has grown over the past three years to include up to 130 bikers and 26 drop-off locations for new toys, to be distributed by the Marine Corps during the holiday season, Hall said.

Riders will gather at Buffalo Wing University on Saturday morning, Nov. 5, around 11 a.m., Hall said, with a $15 donation for Toys for Tots or a new toy of the same value. As riders try their luck at 50/50 drawings and raffles, The Point Blank Band, The Lost Highway Band and Group Therapy, featuring Phil McCormack, the lead singer for Molly Hatchet, will play from noon until 7:30 p.m.

"We'll have three Marines in dress blues on hand to collect donations," Hall said. The US Angels, which Hall describes as "a biker swimsuit team," will also be at the rally, and Solo Custom Cycles from Bealton will have six motorcycles on display.

IN ADDITION to the rally at Buffalo Wing University, a poker run will start at Kilroy's in the Ravensworth Shopping Center on Braddock Road in Springfield will start at 11 a.m. Riders will draw two playing cards from a deck at Kilroy's and draw other cards at the Clubhouse Sports Bar in Manassas, Patriot Cafe in Fairfax and at the end of their ride at Buffalo Wing University, Hall said.

"Registration for the poker run is $10 and a toy or $20 without a toy," Hall said. Last year, between the poker ride and the rally, the Wednesday Night Crew was able to raise $2,600 for Toys for Tots and collected 360 toys.

In addition to helping out the Toys for Tots program, the Wednesday Night Crew will be adopting a Marine Corps family for the holidays, Hall said.

At Kilroy's, owner Philip "Pip" Thomas said the riders have adopted his restaurant as their weekly meeting place.

"They needed a place to accommodate them and had outgrown the place they used to meet at," Thomas said. "This is a group from all walks of life. You can't tell who's a doctor or lawyer and who's a construction worker, and they're all incredibly nice folks."

He was happy to offer his establishment for the event because "it's for a good cause, simple as that."

That sentiment was shared by George Pagonis, general manager at Buffalo Wing University. "We helped them out last year and it worked out well. It's nice to do something for the community," he said.