Wide-eyed young boys and girls looked up at huge bucket trucks and cranes many times their heights as they walked along Orange County Airport’s runways June 3 during United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s 2012 Touch-A-Truck/Aviation Expo.
“It’s every little boy’s dream,” said Stephanie Austin of Walden, whose 2 1/2-year-old son Thomas was waiting to climb up a huge concrete mixer. He’d already visited a fire truck and was wearing his plastic fireman’s hat as he looked up, way up at where he would climb. Austin said it was their first time attending the annual event.
Kids of all ages marveled at 46 vehicles of all types including dump trucks, tractors, fire trucks, a 63-foot tall mobile tub grinder, police vehicles and dirt track race cars. They could see the vehicles up close, climb on them and have their pictures taken behind the wheel. This was the fifth year for the annual event which drew more than 3,000 for a fun-filled family adventure.
Jim Wickes, president of Wickes Arborists of Spring Valley was participating in Touch-A-Truck for the third year. “We sponsor things that are good for the community,” said Wickes of his participation as he stood next to their bucket truck which reaches 75 feet in the air. He added that it was good for kids to get out and see the vehicles, and an opportunity for the companies displaying their trucks to talk to other vendors.
Attendees also had the opportunity to see the helicopters and airplanes of various types making up the more than 20 aircraft displayed as part of the Orange County Pilots Association Aviation Expo during the day-long event.
Activities for the entire family included performances by sky divers from SkyDive the Ranch in Gardiner, a special appearance by Elmo, three bounce houses, face painting, a dunking booth and rides on the small Roaming Railroad trackless train.
Funds raised at Touch-A-Truck/Aviation Expo enable United Way to bring the community together in collaboration to solve major quality of life issues that provide opportunities for all to live successfully.
Event sponsors include IBM Corp.; 8 Hats High Animation and Production; Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell; Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.; Tarshis, Catania, Liberth, Mahon & Milligram PLLC; HealthQuest; Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; Marshall & Sterling Insurance; Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; Dynamic Center Inc.; Cumulus Broadcasting; H.O. Penn Machinery Inc.; The Louis Berger Group; Jet Blue Airways; Skydive the Ranch; BoyDog Design; Empire State Electric Motors; Marangi Disposal; TAM Enterprises; Warwick Party Rental; NYCOMCO; Warwick Car Wash & Oil Express; Party Time Productions; Epic Aviation; Take Flight Aviation; and, Mobile Life Support Services.