Hands-on fun: Touch a Truck returns to Vail’s Ford Park on Sunday
Kid-friendly event will include no horns or sirens for the first half-hour
Who’s having more fun? That’s a fair question when it comes to Touch a Truck, a free, hands-on event that kids love and adults love, too, because it brings out the kid in everyone.
The formula is pretty simple: Kids love big trucks. They also love sirens and horns and buttons to push. And police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and those who operate big rigs and large machinery like backhoes and snowcats certainly love showing off their vehicles to wide-eyed youngsters.
“I love seeing how excited the kids get touching the trucks and getting in the vehicles,” said Jess Blumenfeld, a preschool teacher who has helped organize the event in Vail in recent years. “I’m just happy to see those kids happy.”
Sunday’s event at the Ford Park parking lot on the south frontage road from 10:30 a.m. to noon marks a return of the popular happening since going on a hiatus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last Touch a Truck event happened in May 2019, after which, Blumenfeld said she had kids asking her if the event would be a weekly occurrence.
Just like in years past, the first half hour will be sensory-friendly with an embargo on air horns and sirens. Parents are also encouraged to bring noise-canceling headphones for their children when the horns get honking and the sirens start wailing.
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Blumenfeld said she initially got the idea for the community event a few years ago from her nephew in Vermont, who was 5 at the time.
“He doesn’t talk a lot, and he went on for hours about it,” Blumenfeld recounted. “I just thought it would be fun to bring it here to Vail.”
Also, as a preschool teacher who has worked at the Vail Child Care Center and now at the Children’s Garden of Learning, she has seen first-hand how much kids get excited about big trucks.
Trash Trucks. Fire trucks. Even the UPS truck. Doesn’t matter.
“The kids just have so much fun running the horns, climbing in the trucks,” she said. “And the adults, they love teaching the kids. The police officers love explaining everything to the kids, how the vehicles work.”
To get the ball rolling, Blumenfeld initially approached Cricket Pylman, who runs the children’s programs at the Vail Public Library, about bringing Touch a Truck to Vail.
Pylman reached out to other town departments, and she said the initial reaction from various department heads at the town of Vail was as enthusiastic as hers. An event was born.
“We are very excited to be able to bring Touch a Truck back to the community,” Pylman said. “It’s a perfect event for our times, because it’s family-friendly and it’s outdoors, so it’s nice and safe. And it’s every little guy’s and girl’s dream to climb into fire trucks and ambulances and backhoes.”
That it is. Not to mention, get some swag from the first responders on hand to show off their cool toys.
In addition to the first responder vehicles, there will be construction vehicles like a backhoe, street sweeper, a town bus, Vail Honeywagon trash trucks, a flatbed and a snowcat.
Also new this year: A food truck to join all the other big trucks in the parking lot. El Bajon the Churros Wagon will be on site serving up churros, and hopefully some hot cocoa.
“I told them to have some warm drinks,” Pylman said.
For more information, contact the Town of Vail Public Library at vaillibrary.com.
What: Touch a Truck
When: Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to noon. There will be no horns or sirens for the first half hour.
Where: Ford Park parking lot in Vail.
More information: Visit vaillibrary.com