The Ashland Beacon
If you happened to drive by the Ashland Town Center on Saturday morning, you might have noticed that there was one section of the parking lot that was full of emergency vehicles. Don’t worry. Nothing horrible happened. It was quite the opposite. They were there to bring some joy to local children who were more than happy to climb up in the vehicles and pretend that they were one of the heroes driving them.
Vicki Ramey, the General Manager of the Ashland Town Center, put together the Touch the Truck event as one of the large, outdoor events that the mall sponsors every year. According to Ramey, the mall wanted to do something that was both “community and kid-focused that the whole family can come out and do.” The children learn about safety while being able to climb up into the trucks, honk the horns, and “see what the inside of the vehicles look like,” she said.
Upon arriving, the children were offered their choice of a plastic fire hat, a plastic construction “hard” hat, or a paper police “hat.” They were also able to spin a wheel for a chance to earn a small prize. Prizes included kid favorites like punch balloons, fidget spinners, and slap bracelets. They were also handed a goody bag with coupons for stores inside the mall, candy, small toys, and whistles (which made parents cringe and vow to pitch them as soon as they weren’t looking.)
From there the junior drivers could make their way around to the different tents and trucks that were set up. The middle of the aisle contained games for them to play. There was ladder ball, bean bag toss, and tons of sidewalk chalk. There was also a tent with tables and chairs set up that they could make crafts with the supplies provided by the mall.
Some of the inside vendors came out and had games and small prizes for the kids too. Primary Plus had a game where the kids would answer a trivia question to get a prize. The questions included “what’s your favorite vegetable?” and “how many times a day should you brush your teeth?” The Dock Dogs brought some of their dogs down to greet the children. The YouTube famous dock dog named Red was there and he was highly enjoying all the petting and attention that the children were happily showering him with.
United Rentals brought down a bulldozer and an excavator that children could climb up in so that their parents could take their picture. Ashland Police Department’s D.A.R.E. Officer, Troy Patrick, was there displaying gear that police officers wear in critical situations as well as passing out pens, pencils, bracelets, and pencil grips. The Army National Guard brought one of their trucks down. They were letting the children climb through the back of it and up to the front to sit in the driver’s seat with a helmet on and start the truck like they were the one going to be driving it.
The Ashland Fire Department brought down a fire truck for the kids to climb up in and their smokehouse for kids to go through to learn what to do if there is ever a fire in their home. Several ambulances were there, including King’s Daughters Medical Transport team, Boyd County 911, and Boyd County Emergency Management.
Deep South Crane brought one of their cranes down and extended it all the way up to the sky. This was the only vehicle that the children were not allowed to climb on due to extreme safety precautions. McGuire’s towing brought down their big machine and had one of their little machines lifted completely off the ground. McGuire’s towing and Clark’s, who brought down a tanker truck, were both letting the children climb up and pull the cords to set off the air horns.
With the addition of vendors Fat Boy Q’s food truck and the Kona Ice truck, the event proved to have everything needed for a fun-filled afternoon for parents and children alike.