Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

The Jingle Bell Run and Toys for Tots Make Spirits Bright

Nov 23, 2016 11:00AM ● By Kimberly Horg

Run, Run Rudolph

December 2016
By Kimberly Horg
Photos courtesy of Fresno Jingle Bell Run

The 5th annual Jingle Bell Run will soon make its way down Christmas Tree Lane in Fresno, continuing a family tradition for people of all ages to raise toys and cash for the Toys for Tots campaign.

Run director Mike Herman says about 3,000 participants each year, from infants to folks in their 90s, get into the holiday spirit at the event, slated for Dec. 10. Generations of families walking and running together hail from all over the Valley.

He has always enjoyed walking Christmas Tree Lane, and in 2012, the Toys for Tots campaign was struggling to meet it’s goal of presents for children. He thought, what better way to raise toys than a run/walk through one of the best known Christmas Tree Lanes in the Valley?

The race is fast becoming a favorite of locals. Approximately 2,000 participants run the timed 5K, while around 1,000 participate in the 2-mile walk (which is not timed).

“Christmas Tree Lane makes it unique,” he says. “For years, it was the only organized run using Christmas Tree Lane and, to this day, is the only organized run during the Christmas season to use this world-renowned street.”  

Another unusual amenity for participants is that each person receives a sweatshirt and jingle bells to wear during the event. Santa hats are given to all runners/walkers who bring a new unwrapped toy or donate to Toys for Tots.

And there will be snow at the finish-line with the help of a little magic – the same technology that Disneyland uses to bring snow to Christmas Tree Lane. Snacks including Christmas cookies and hot chocolate will be provided at the finish line.

Seeing so many people come out to the Jingle Bell Run is what Herman likes most about the race. There has been consistent growth over the years, as people return with extended families and friends.  

More than 2,500 toys are donated each year, he says. “We have been told this event is one of the largest toy collecting events that the Marines see in the Valley each year,” Herman said. “The generous donations that participants make all contribute to the success of the Marines’ Toys for
Tots campaign.”

The stroller-friendly course with easy parking access runs south on Wilson Avenue from the corner of Palm and Shaw, then returns up Van Ness Boulevard. Herman says he is grateful to the Fig Garden Home Owners Association for allowing the inconvenience.  Without its commitment to the Toys for Tots campaign, he would not be able to put on the event. •

Where: Fresno Christmas Tree Lane 

When: Saturday, December 10

(559) 322-9371

5K begins at 9 am; two-mile run/walk begins at 9:10 am

Find them on Facebook