Wise wife sparks Touch-A-Truck eventArea News
-- No matter your age, big trucks impress everyone.
By: Jillian Dexheimer, Pierce County Herald
No matter your age, big trucks impress everyone. Vehicles including backhoes, dump trucks, ambulances and military vehicles, elicit “ohs” and “ahs” when we see one roll by.
Kids, young and old, will get their chance to see those big trucks at the Touch-A-Truck event, held every other year, on Saturday, June 16.
According to founder, Joe Covelli, it all started in 2004 after a suggestion from his wife, “It was really Cynthia who came up with the name and concept.”
“I was working with the River Falls Ambulance in 1999,” Covelli said. “We were looking for a way to educate and reach out to the community, so we started Emergency Service Day in 1999. We held it every other year.”
Covelli wanted to find something in the off-years for families and particularly kids. Wife, Cynthia, told Covelli to look at how son Jonathan, who was two at the time, played. According to Covelli, Jonathan was playing with diggers in the sandbox and always wanted to visit construction sites to see the big machines.
So, an idea was born, an idea to gather big trucks in one location, so kids of all ages could come look and touch the vehicles.
“It’s all about the kids seeing or getting into a vehicle they maybe never would,” said Covelli. “It’s about kids spending the day with their family.”
The Touch-A-Truck event is also a great place to meet people. Covelli tells the story of struggling with a sign and having a gentleman see him and offering to help. As they got to talking the gentleman said he had just been at the Touch-A- Truck event with his family. He told Covelli how two years prior he had brought his children to the event and got to talking to a woman and her children, while waiting to see one of the vehicles.
Two years later he was attending the event with that woman, who was now his wife and their children. So singles may find their special someone at Touch-A-Truck as well.
The Touch-A-Truck concept has become widely popular throughout the United States. Last month Covelli received a call from Ohio about how he started and organizes the River Falls event.
What started as an event that drew 500 people in 2004 has evolved into an event that drew 2,500 in 2010. “I am amazed at its evolution,” said Covelli.
To find trucks for the event, owners contact Covelli or he scouts newspapers, looking for companies that have big machinery. “I noticed in the paper a paving business opening. I called the guy and asked if he would bring his Asphalt Paving Roller, he agreed,” said Covelli.
Other trucks were spotted driving down the highway -- “Jolene Sullivan (local American Family Insurance agent) noticed the Gold’n Plump Chicken Cruiser truck going down the highway,” he said, “and snapped a photo.” After some investigative work, the chicken truck was tracked down and they will be at this year’s event.
Covelli says, “I keep my eyes and ears open,” referring to find new trucks for the event.
Planning for the event usually begins about nine months prior and involves well over 200 hours of work. Numerous volunteers help the event come to fruition. According to Covelli, “People find ways to contribute.”
“I am very pleased with how it has been coming together, hopefully the weather cooperates,” said Covelli about the upcoming Touch-A-Truck event.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the north parking lot at Meyer Middle School, 230 N. 9 th Street.
The free event will feature 15 new vehicles including the Gold’n Plump Chicken Cruiser truck, Kemps' Moo-Mobile Ice Cream Sample Truck and a hot air balloon.
Other trucks and vehicles on display will include: the ever popular school bus, an off-road dump truck, bulldozer, 5 Eyewitness News live remote truck, 135-ton mobile crane truck, fire trucks, hospital MRI truck, military trucks and Humm-V, Huey Army helicopter, snow plow truck, road grader, street sweeper, power line truck and more.
According to Covelli the event will have “a good cross-section of trucks.”
Helicopter and hot air balloon rides will be offered for a fee (weather permitting).
People are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to give to Jerry Carter and Mel Germanson for the River Falls Food Shelf. “At the last event we filled two pick-up beds full,” said Covelli.
For event information or to see the list of the 60 plus trucks on display this year, visit www.Touch-A-Truck.net.