At Trinity Lutheran’s Touch-A-Truck event on November 15th, forty-one vehicles took the day off work to give kids a chance to experience the driver’s seat.
The street was filled with sounds of horns honking and children squealing as more than 1,700 people came out to explore race cars, monster trucks, big rigs, military, construction, and emergency vehicles. Even the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile was on hand to remind folks that it’s always a good time for a hot dog. Kids jumped around in the Fun Bus, made their way through a maze in the back of a truck built out of moving boxes, and danced as children’s singer Mr. Richard performed. The first 300 kids through the gates even received a free Hot Wheels car.
Trinity’s Parent-Teacher League sponsored Touch-A-Truck for the fifth year in a row, and more than 50 volunteers pulled together to make it happen.
“There are so many hands-on experiences for active kids with this event,” says resident Ashley Seiler, who has attended Touch-A-Truck for the past two years. “There are so many other things that we do where I have to tell the boys not to touch anything. With this event, they can touch everything, which they really appreciate—which means mom really appreciates it. We love it; we’ll be back next year.”
Local vendors, a petting zoo, face painters, and a hot air balloon filled Trinity’s courtyard and provided additional fun activities for kids and adults. Trinity Food Service Manager Rich Poole catered the event, and volunteers kept the food coming as hamburgers and hot dogs were served hot off the grill. For dessert, children lined up to create a human-powered snow cone by running on a huge hamster-style wheel.
“This was an incredible event,” said Tod Olson-Weston of Team Kid KJ Monster Truck Racing. “We have been to many truck shows throughout the country, and this is by far the largest and most attended that we have ever been to. I was astounded by the participation and energy.” Tod was inspired to build mini monster trucks so that his now 11-year-old son KJ could drive in exhibitions. “Flipping the truck is my favorite part of driving,” says KJ.
All drivers and business owners volunteered to spend the day at Touch-A-Truck, and their kindness and enthusiasm shined through as they helped kids climb into seats and push all kinds of cool buttons.
“Being involved in the community is what brings me out here,” says Dale Jesse, equipment manager for Preferred Materials. “We had a lot fun, and the guys are looking forward to coming back next year.”
Principal Kevin Brockberg was on hand to share information about Trinity’s K-8 school. “I met a lot of people who expressed an interest in our school and many who didn’t know anything about the school until today,” says Dr. Brockberg. “It was a completely delightful day.”
Although the event was geared toward kids, there were more than a few adults who didn’t complain about spending the day checking out vehicles. As Pastor Jeff Moore looked at Truly Nolan’s Volkswagen Limousine (the Head Mouse Limo), he had visions of his 1975 VW Rabbit and all the changes he imagined making to it. “I always wanted to cut right behind the doors of my 2-door rabbit and add the back end of a 4-door rabbit,” says Pastor Moore. “That Rabbit was a really great car.”
PTL President Jamie Erpenbach was grateful for the big turnout. Money raised by the Touch-A-Truck fundraiser will benefit the school and its programs.
“I’m so happy to see such a variety of people out here today,” says Jamie. “There are church & school people, community people, and our volunteer list is a mile long. I give all of this to God. Look at this beautiful day. Who did that? Not me.”
Article by Jenny Beyer, Photos by Jenny Beyer & Colette Reid