We have always been community-oriented people, so we love supporting any events that are put on by our hometown and the surrounding areas. When an event is sponsored by an organization like our local board of developmental disabilities, we feel extra compelled to check it out since we know that our family will feel 100 percent welcome at this happening. Which is why we were sure to check out the annual “touch a truck” hosted by our local board of dd that took place last week. Since this event is something that they try to do annually I thought it would be good to give you the scoop in case you are local to us, and your family wants to check it out in the future.
As I alluded to before, “touch a truck” is hosted by the Champaign County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The event seems to take place around the same timeframe each year, a Friday in mid-July, and runs around lunchtime (10am-1pm). It is completely free for all families to attend. We got there just a little after their start time since this year they advertised free Kona Ice to the first 200 attendees, and I knew that would be a big selling point for all three of my kids.
Parking was a little tricky as nearly the entire parking area is blocked off to sit the heavy equipment but there are a couple of entrance areas at the sides that allow you access to parking spots. Even getting there close to the start, it had already drawn a decent crowd. But thankfully there was only a short bit of waiting required at each vehicle and everything moved pretty fast. They had a variety of different vehicles and equipment from fire trucks to military vehicles, regular service trucks to farming equipment, and a few more in between. The kids are free to roam around and explore any of the vehicles they choose and can skip checking out any that they are not interested in. Some vehicles were more popular than others; Things like fire trucks and large tractors always drew a few more kids in than something like the AES service truck, so you can kill a little time at the less busy trucks if you wish.
My youngest, Drew, who is 5, was much more interested than my 9-year-old Damion, so it was a juggle at times to keep Damion from trying to walk off, but the reward of Kona Ice did help a bit with that struggle. My daughter enjoyed talking to the firefighters, police officers, and EMTs about their jobs and the vehicles that go along with their occupations while my boys were just interested in hopping in and touching all the buttons. There were a couple of vehicles that had horns that they allowed the kids to touch which was a bit of a sensory issues a couple of times for my boys (and my boys are not even overly sensitive to loud noises) so if you have a kiddo that has an issue with loud sounds you may want to bring along some noise cancelling headphones just to be safe.
After we checked out all the cool “trucks” we made our way over to the small area of booths that had a few small “prize” and fun areas for the kids as well as some informational flyers for the parents. And along with the free Kona Ice for the first 200 people, they also were handing out free hot dogs, chips and water, a very nice touch as well. I am not one to complain about free food, but for those with extra picky/sensory eaters like mine I would like to note that the hot dogs were grilled with quite a bit of charring so unfortunately it wasn’t something that my boys were going to go for. No big deal for us as it was just an extra perk for the event, but I wanted to mention it in case someone was banking on it as a full lunch substitution.
All-in-all a very cute event, I would say especially for the younger kiddos or if you have a child extremely interested in trucks or heavy machinery. What more could you want? It was easy, family friendly, and totally free to check out. If you missed it this year, be sure to keep an ear out for it next July. If you are not local to our area, be sure to sign up for alerts with your local county board of DD or follow them on social media to see what types of fun events they have in your area for your family to attend.