Children can experience life behind the wheel of a big rig

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:57 am on Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fire trucks are always one of the most popular vehicles during the Touch a Truck event scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in Greenville. — Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — If your son or daughter has ever wondered what the world looks like from the seat of an 18-wheeler, fire truck or ice cream wagon, this Saturday he or she will have the chance to find out.

From 1 to 3 p.m. at the Meijer parking lot on M-57, the Greenville Parks and Recreation Department is offering its semi-annual Touch a Truck Day. Held every other year, the event brings in the big rigs that kids really want to get close to.

According to recreation programmer Kara Tiesworth, the department began offering the event over 20 years ago for one reason: “Kids love big trucks,” she said. “They love big vehicles and the things they see on the roads but never actually have the chance to get inside.”

About 20 to 25 trucks usually put in an appearance, along with their owners and operators. Tiesworth rounds up vehicles for the event by calling previous participants, putting notices on social networking sites and placing an notice in The Daily News’ “Area Locals” column.

On tap this year are an ice cream truck (handing out free treats), fire trucks and a police car from the Greenville Department of Public Safety, as well as an array of Montcalm Township Fire Department vehicles, a school bus and dump trucks from Simmons Gravel Company and the Greenville Department of Public Works.

Children will get to sit behind the wheels, operate sirens and horns and do everything but actually take the big rigs for a spin around the parking lot.

“The kids love that,” Tiesworth said. “It definitely gets loud. We have about 200 kids who come through every year with their families. It’s hard to get an actual number, but that’s close, that’s my estimate. It depends a lot on the weather.”

With predictions calling for warm temps and sunny skies for Saturday, Tiesworth is expecting a good turnout.

The event is family friendly and admission is free. For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (616) 754-8887.

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