Tiny tots transfixed by tremendous trucks

VERO BEACH — Tiny little kids and great big trucks; for Childcare Resources of Indian River, the two have proven to be a terrific combination.  At the Third Annual Touch a Truck Family Festival, held Saturday at the Indian River County Fairgrounds, squeals of laughter mixed with exceptionally loud truck horns as children explored every aspect of the numerous trucks on display.

Trucks of every shape and size, with a few vintage and unusual cars thrown in for good measure, gleamed brightly under the crystal blue sky, as children darted to and fro trying to take it all in.

“We’ve refined it every year,” said Pam King, Childcare Resources Executive Director.  “People step up and ask what they can do to help.  It’s just heartwarming.”

The family owned businesses of Mike’s Wrecker and Florida Towing, run by Mike Jaholkowski and his daughter Patty, contributed about a dozen rigs from their extensive fleet of trucks.  Blissfully quieter than all the other horns that blared throughout the day, was an old-fashioned bulb horn that belonged to their 1926 Woody Bus.

At the fire trucks, 3-year-old Jacob May shyly disclosed that he wanted to be a fireman just like his father.

“A friend told me about this so we drove all the way up here,” said Greg May, a Fort Lauderdale firefighter.

Not a truck, but attracting just as much attention, was a snazzy electric blue Mustang, showing off its flashing ‘got ya’ lights.  The slick, unmarked car is manned by Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy Wolfgang Weber, who hand-picked the car and its overall design.

“I wrote a grant for aggressive driving enforcement and it got accepted,” said Weber, explaining how the vehicle was funded.

A number of the vendors were also giving away goodies to the kids, including Publix which had coloring books, posters and pins.  As they gave out wooden race-car kits, Home Depot reminded families that they hold free kids’ workshops from 9 to noon the first Saturday of every month.

While the trucks are always the main draw, there were also plenty of other activities to keep the kids busy.  Every good family event includes the ubiquitous bounce houses, and this was no exception.

The indoor pavilion housed game booths provided by Bob Evans Restaurant, who showed up with their “Biscuits and Gravy” mascot dogs and also provided a balloon artist.  Saint Edward’s School, the GFWC Sebastian River Junior Women’s Club, the Indian River Charter High School and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort all provided activities as well, from crafts to face painting.

As a lovely breeze drifted through the open-sided pavilion, families dined on a wide variety of tasty delights offered by 11 different food vendors, all while being serenaded with folk songs played by Darrell House.

“I thought we were coming to just see fire trucks,” said Patti Gibbons of all the activities.  “This is a hoot!”

Proceeds from the event benefit Childcare Resources of Indian River, which works to provide high quality, affordable early childcare for local working families. {igallery 366}


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