By Angel McCurdy / Daily News
SEASIDE — Thomas Muldowney stepped off his bike, his elf shoes jingling Saturday afternoon as he joined the large crowd gathered on 30A.
The grown man said the bike ride from his Grayton home was not the norm since he was outfitted from head to tow as an elf.
“My bottom half was cold and my top half was warm,” Muldowney said, laughing as he gestured to his green-and-red tights and Christmas-colored top. “I didn’t know what to expect so I figured I should come all dressed up.”
Muldowney was one of about 100 locals who participated in this year’s Elf Ride, which raises toys and money for South Walton Fire District’s Angel Tree program to bring Christmas to needy families in the area.
“We’re giving to kids who can’t get or don’t get the things they need,” said Muldowney who, along with his wife Deanna, adopted five families this year. “It’s incredibly humbling. Some of the kids only wanted toiletries. It breaks you heart.”
Click here to see a slideshow from the ride.
As far as the eye could see were bikes decorated in tinsel, children dressed as elves and grown men wearing tights, antlers and Santa hats.
“I know how great it is opening up gifts so its important to me that we make sure every kid gets a toy,” said 16-year-old Luke Thompson, who started the Elf Ride six years ago. “Without this, some people wouldn’t get anything.”
At the sound of the megaphone, folks dressed in red and green made their way from Seaside’s Post Office to Watercolor’s fire house on foot, bikes, and skates.
Thompson said the strangest mode of transportation was last year when someone rode a rickshaw.
Jason and Stephanie Peterson made the afternoon trek with a little running and a little walking. The couple made the journey a learning experience for their two children.
“We’re doing a lesson on giving with this,” said Stephanie wearing a Christmas-colored shirt and antlers on her head. “Giving is what Christmas is about.”