Nfld. & Labrador

Christmas-themed ATV ride aims to spark joy — and give back to the community

For the second year in a row, ATV riders in Conception Bay South came together to enjoy a pre-holiday trip to Avondale that had their vehicles decked out with lights and filled with donations for those in need.

Participants rode from Seal Cove to Avondale, collected food and toy donations

A man, left, and a woman, right, both wearing Santa hats, are smiling for the camera. In the background, there are people and ATVs, which are decorated with lights and Christmas inflatables.
Krista Webber organized a Christmas-themed ATV ride that also serves as food drive, for the first time in 2021. The group Avalon ATV, whose president is Dean Layman, agreed right away to take part. (Henrike Wilhelm/CBC)

When about 50 ATVs decked out in Christmas decorations gathered at the staging area in Seal Cove on Saturday, it wasn't just for a holiday-themed joyride.

It was also for a good cause.

For the second year in a row, Krista Webber, along with friends, organized an ATV ride that led drivers from Seal Cove to Avondale, and collected donations at the same time.

"A bunch of friends reached out and said, 'We'd love to do a bike run with ATVs … decorated with Christmas decorations and lights,'" said Webber.

"So we put one off last year and then we decided to give it back to the community."

Instead of charging people to take part in the ride, Webber decided to ask for donations — food items or a donation for the Happy Tree in the St. John's Avalon Mall.

Webber, who is involved with Scouts Canada, decided the food donations would go to the eight Little Free Pantries in Conception Bay South that have been built by the 1st Topsail Venturers and Scouts since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event grew from about 34 people showing up for the inaugural event in 2021, she said, to about 50 riders participating this year.

"Everybody was so excited," said Webber. 

"Other communities do nighttime parades. So we decided we would do it, and we would do it and incorporate the railbed with it, versus the roads."

Dean Layman, president of Avalon ATV, was on board right away when he heard about the event.

"I texted her right away.… I said, 'Anything you needs,'" said Layman.

"Everybody just came right on board. And what you see today is only a little bit."

Events like this one, said Layman, are important for the community.

"It's fun. Everybody gets out and enjoys it. But you're giving back to something. You're giving back to the community," he said.

The front of an ATV is decorated with a garland, a mini decoration in form of a sleigh, and the words "Merry Christmas".
About 50 ATVs, all decorated similarly to this one, took part in the second Christmas run from Seal Cove to Avondale. (Henrike Wilhelm/CBC)

His members, said Layman, didn't hesitate at all bringing a donation to the ride.

"They got no issues donating back," said Layman. "It's only a couple of dollars and you can fill a pantry, you know."

Webber said on top of riders' contributions, community donations for the event also came in — goodie bags for the children from Avalon ATV, a youth ATV helmet as a prize from the Avalon T'Railway Corporation, and skating and swimming passes for all attending youth from the Town of Conception Bay South.

The event concluded at the Avondale Railway Station Museum, where riders young and old were greeted with prizes, food and a visit from Santa Claus.

It's something Webber hopes will become a permanent event.

"Every year, hopefully. It seems like it's going to be a success," she said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


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