The Mother's Day Make-A-Wish convoy is seeking a new host location for the event in which hundreds of truckers gather to pick up young passengers and then hit the road to fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Make-A-Wish said Wednesday that Burle Business Park recently informed the organization that it is no longer able to host the growing event at its site along New Holland Avenue at the edge of Lancaster city, as it has for many years.
Comment from Burle was not immediately available Wednesday.
“We need an area in Lancaster County that can hold 450 - 600 tractor trailers, along with room for the carnival and day-of festivities” said regional director Ben Lee.
Next year's Mother's Day truck convoy is slated for May 10, 2020, and Make-A-Wish is hoping to have a new location established by Sept. 1. Leaders also said that although the trucks will be leaving from and returning to a different spot, they hope to keep much of the 26-mile path the same, on Route 222 through six municipalities including Akron, Brownstown and Ephrata.
Anyone who knows of a location that may be able to accommodate the 2020 event is asked to contact Lee at 717-283-4878.
The convoy started in 1990 and from 2000 to 2015 had roughly 300 to 350 trucks each year, according to Lee, who said a successful 2016 attempt to reclaim the Guinness World Record for longest truck convoy ushered in continuing growth; now the number of trucks participating each year is well over 500.
In 2018, the fundraising total passed $500,000 for the first time. This year easily eclipsed that, raising more than $600,500 despite cold, rainy weather.
In a Tuesday email to drivers that some recipients shared on social media, Make-A-Wish regional development associate Cathy Haynes Schladitz wrote, "Since the very early years of the Convoy, Burle has provided us access to the massive Burle Business Park parking lot and has supported us with various services and support during the event. We are truly grateful for their partnership and our time spent at this location, but now we must look for a new place to host a vitally important event to our Chapter and the Lancaster Community."
The organization does not yet have any strong leads on possible new locations, she said.
Lee noted the parking situation "has never been ideal" at Burle, with attendees being shuttled from Lancaster Catholic High School.
He hopes, he said, that the ultimate result of having to find a new home is that "what comes out on the other side is a bigger, better, stronger convoy."
For more on the convoy's history: