INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – It was a truck-lovers dream – more than 60 antique and new hauling vehicles of all sizes, shapes and colors – some including towering cranes and others easily recognizable as rescue and emergency vehicles assembled at the Indian River County Fairgrounds Saturday for the Second Annual Touch A Truck Family Festival presented by Childcare Resources of Indian River.
A sunny, breezy day was the perfect backdrop for the affordable event, which drew hundreds of area families to enjoy vehicle displays plus a myriad of games, prizes and food. Proceeds of the event support early education programs for working families.
There was, unquestionably, a profusion of every type of truck imaginable, from the Old Model T Fords with horns sounding like duck quacks to huge 18-wheel rigs with state-of-the-art cabs.
However, the variety of trucks may have been matched by the types of strollers wheeled by parents and grandparents throughout the fairgrounds. The day seemed to be a celebration of things on wheels.
Air horns repeatedly blared as youngsters climbed high into truck cabs and delightedly, with adult permission, blew the horns to their hearts’ content. Broad smiles were the order of the day for young and old.
Nicholas Dimitrov, 9, had been transformed via face paint into a Batman-like persona, although the young hero seemed to enjoy vintage vehicles more than a Batmobile.
“I picked it,” he said of the black-painted face design and added that he enjoyed seeing an 84-year-old car and red trucks.
Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Teddy Floyd was having fun showing kids “Big Bertha,” the sheriff’s military-type transport truck that is used in emergencies and to help demolish abandoned houses.
“This is awesome and we’re having fun with this event and “Big Bertha,”” Floyd said as he easily hoisted Sebastian Burlage, 3, into the truck while mom Krysten and grandmother Virginia watched with smiles.
“I think it’s wonderful. Sebastian’s loving it,” Virginia Burlage said.
An army of individual volunteers and business supporters gave tirelessly of their time and efforts to plan and present the fun-filled event which included building many creatively inspired games from scratch, according to Kathy Leingang who serves as chairman of truck exhibitor recruitment and helps plan games and other activities.
“Our supporters ask what they can do to help. This is something we can’t do without these people,” Leingang said.
Childcare Resources, founded in 1994, provides early education program tuition and other assistance and programs for children of working families. More than 1,000 children and their families have benefited from Childcare Resources programs.
Attendees were greeted at the admission gate by the circus-like music of an antique 1922 Tangley calliope mounted on a 1926 Model T Ford Truck owned by Vero Beach resident Marv Horovitz, who collects antique trucks, cars and air-driven instruments such as the calliope and band organs.
“I donate my time providing calliope music for non-religious charitable events,” Horovitz said.
Childcare Resources of Indian River Executive Director Pam King was on hand greeting visitors and involved with all aspects of the popular event. She said a similar event to Touch A Truck is held in Connecticut .
“It’s been done elsewhere and we borrowed the idea and made it our own,” King said.
“Touch A Truck is great for the children and adults. Everyone loves the trucks and there’s a little something for everyone. It’s really amazing and wonderful how the owners of the trucks on display are so supportive of this event,” said Trudie Rainone, a Childcare Resources board member.