TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Children like to touch things. And combine that with the heady thrill of seeing something that fascinates them — not to mention going inside and sitting down at the controls — is an experience they will never forget.
That experience might even make them think about what they would like to be someday.
It is the idea behind this Tuesday’s “Touch-A-Truck” event. The fourth annual get-together is sponsored by the Corbin Public Library, and takes place at Rotary Park from 11 a.m. until noon.
Touch-A-Truck is the final event for the library’s annual Summer Reading Program. And like the reading program, it gets bigger and bigger with each passing year.
As Heather Croley puts it, not only with the number of big trucks and vehicles set up in the parking lot, but with the number of youngsters who explore what makes those machines move.
“Basically, it’s to let children see vehicles and to go inside them to get a look at how it operates. The kids think it’s cool, and they have a good time,” said Croley, the library’s circulation manager. “It also gives them an idea about the people who drive those vehicles. They can ask them about not only what they drive, but what they do. It’s like reading this summer. It allows them to dream big, and maybe get the kids thinking about a career when they grow up.”
The idea of matching children and vehicles together has always been around. But the library’s assistant manager, Lisa Kersey, noted it was just a matter of adding more to the mix, while doing it on a low budget.
“We knew the kids were very interested about seeing the trucks and cars in the community,” Kersey said. “We’d have people like the fire department bring a truck over to the library and talk to them. Or the police would bring their K9 unit here, too.
“Then we decided to invite several organizations and their vehicles over to one location,” Kersey added. “Since we have a small budget, we had to be creative, and people began to chip in. Those people who come to Touch-A-Truck donate their vehicles and their time to the program. Business people donate toys, inflatables and services to the event, while the Parks Department donates Rotary Park and the swimming pool donates their time and facility as well. The library’s not charged anything to put this on.”
This year’s list of those truckin’ out to the park includes units from the Corbin Fire Department, the K9 unit from the Corbin Police Department, an Air Evac Lifeteam medical helicopter and crew, vehicles from Corbin City Utilities, an ambulance from Whitley County EMS, ATVs from the Holler Crawlers Off-Road Club of Bell County, a cruiser from the Kentucky State Police Post in London, a vehicle from Venture Cabs, “Tow Chuck” from Wallen’s Towing and a Humvee unit from the Kentucky National Guard.
Croley added there will be some new and returning vehicles at Touch-A-Truck this Tuesday.
“For one, we’ll have an RV from Eastgate RV Center there on the parking lot. We’ll also have race cars for the kids to look at and go inside, courtesy of Blankenship Racing. And, we’re bringing back the Shriners’ mini-cars that they drive in during parades. That’s always been a big favorite for everyone,” she said.
Something else will also be there among the slew of vehicles to view.
“It’s a hearse from O’Neil-Lawson Funeral Home. The funeral home owner said he went to schools to speak on career day, and the kids were interested, and he said there was a lot of positive feedback about him being at the school. I think a lot of kids are interested. We’re always looking for new and different things to add to Touch-A-Truck,” Croley said.
To go along with the vehicles on display, free face painting will be offered, while State Farm Insurance will provide two free inflatables for the youngsters’ entertainment.
For food, PJ’s Hot Dogs will be there selling their frankfurters, and the Corbin Community Backpack Program will offer snow cones and cotton candy for a donation.
Proceeds from the cotton candy and snow cones will help the non-profit Backpack Program provide weekend food backpacks to students in the Corbin City School system and surrounding areas.
When Touch-A-Truck is done, the kids are invited to the library’s pool party just a few feet away at the Corbin Recreation Center’s swimming pool. Admission to the pool party is two dollars for children, with free admission awarded to those children who’ve completed all seven levels of reading over the summer months as part of the Library’s Summer Reading Program.
If you’d like more information on Tuesday’s Touch-A-Truck, call the library at 528-6366 or visit their website at www.corbinkylibrary.org.
The Corbin Public Library will be closed Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. so their employees can help out at event. They will will reopen Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Last year’s event saw some 250-300 children make their way to the park and pool. Croley hopes Tuesday’s get-together will top that, and top off what she says has been a spectacular summer season at the library.
“Each year, we’re seeing more children attend the Summer Reading Program. Touch-A-Truck has been the big finale to the program, and it’s always fun and fascinating. It’s outdoors, it’s free and the kids have a blast. It’ll all come together Tuesday,” she said.