Do you remember playing with Tonka trucks when you were little? Do you remember wondering what it would be like to actually sit behind the wheel of a big truck with tires twice as tall as you are? I remember my first fire truck ride like it was yesterday even though it was more than 40 years ago, an I was in kindergarten. I also developed my first crush on a classmate that day, but I digress.
Touch-a-Truck is an event established by our Public Service Department designed for kids – and the kid that still lives within all of us. This event – held Aug. 24 at the Public Service headquarters, 7800 Bevelhymer Rd., next to the Bevelhymer Park athletic fields – will put your little ones behind the wheel of their favorite vehicles, including fire engines, police cars, snow plows, leaf collection trucks, street sweepers, trash trucks, hauling trucks and even the sewer camera truck. Kids will also get to rub elbows with and ask as many questions as they would like of police officers, firefighters and the public service department personnel who are so integral to providing community services.
For your kids, the experience will be like their Tonka trucks have truly come to life. Perhaps for you, it will be an opportunity to see that wonderment through your child’s eyes and make you remember some of your own childhood memories.
Other activities include Ident-a-Kid, the New Albany Police Department’s child identity program through pictures and child fingerprinting. This program provides peace of mind to parents, knowing they have taken proactive steps to keep their children safe and be better prepared in the event of an emergency. Additionally, Plain Township’s Fire Safety House will be on site and firefighters will be on hand to help residents devise exit strategies from smoke-filled homes.
“We’re planning the day as a laid-back affair in a pretty concentrated timeframe, allowing the kids to go at their own pace and determine what they want to experience,” says Public Service Director Mark Nemec. “We are also lucky to have very proactive police and fire professionals who see this event as an opportunity to mingle with the people they serve and begin to establish positive relationships with our youth. It’s going to be a fun day.”
Touch-a-Truck will last from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and will occur rain or shine. In case of rain, all vehicles will be set up inside in service bays. Parents can rest assured that the event will be a quick-hitting affair. Visitors probably won’t stay more than 30 to 45 minutes, and that includes sticking around for free grilled hot dogs and other snacks. The Public Service Department’s location will also provide easy opportunities for those already at Bevelhymer Park for soccer, baseball or football games to check out the trucks and safety vehicles and partake in some free food.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a little time to mention many of the major special events the community will have the opportunity to enjoy this summer – from the July 4 celebration all the way through the New Albany Classic and Grand Prix at the Wexner residence on Sept. 22. In between those two events, the Chamber’s Taste of New Albany takes place on Aug. 4; Pelotonia comes to New Albany the following weekend on Aug. 10-11; the A&F Challenge is slated for Sept. 6 on the Abercrombie campus; and the New Albany Walking Classic, named the best walk-only event in the United States by Walk Magazine, will take place on Sept. 8.
Summer is a great time to live in New Albany. Enjoy!
Scott McAfee is a contributing writer and public information officer for the city of New Albany. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.