THE sound of revving motorbike engines echoed throughout Stockton on Sunday morning as thousands of bikers embarked on the 46th annual Newcastle Toy Run.
It's the most wonderful time of the year and an esteemed date on the Newcastle events calendar as Bikers' for Kids aim to spread cheer and joy to Hunter families in need ahead of Christmas.
Cars lined up along Fullerton Road in anticipation, with spectators sitting on tailgates and camp chairs, under propped umbrellas providing shade in the summer sun.
The line continued down Industrial Drive and Hannell Street as people watched and waved at an estimated 14,000 passing riders, who made their way to Connolly Park in Carrington.
Riders were dressed in retro theme from Santa suits, to reindeer, the Grinch, Minions and Sonic the Hedgehog, with tinsel wrapped around their vehicles.
The first lot of riders were greeted around 11am at Carrington where there was an array of musical entertainment, market stalls, trade displays, free rides and amusements for the kids and plenty of food and drink.
Bikers' for Kids Chairman Daryn Young said there was nothing like the thrill of riding past the crowd during the event.
"One of the best parts is the ride itself and seeing all the people on the side of the road cheering you on," he said.
Mr Young believed Newcastle's massive community support for the donation drive was only getting bigger each year.
"It's overwhelming to put it that way. To know that you organise something this big and to think when you see those kids on the side of the road that they may be waking up to one of our donations on Christmas day," he said.
"You just definitely know that you're going to put a smile on some kid's face on Christmas and that's the main thing."
Last year the toy run helped 4,500 families and raised $30,000 for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal and treasurer Steve Meek is expecting to exceed that sum when the official count comes through in a few days.
"We sold out of merchandise and sold 90 per cent of our raffle, and the road was absolutely chockers - we will certainly exceed last year," he said.
He said rider numbers were up 30 per cent from 2022 and he was "absolutely over the moon".
"It was amazing to see so many smiles and the family fun day at Carrington was a hit," he said.
Mr Young said amid the cost of living crisis, he was pleased to provide support where its needed most.