It was tons of fun at the Tons of Trucks event held in Manchester on Thursday, July 13. The free community event attracted dozens of area little ones, accompanied by their families.
Even a torrential downpour at Schroeder Park at the onset, which threatened to cancel the event altogether, did little to dampen the enthusiasm of attendees. The cacophony of sirens, horns and lights overruled, and despite soaked kids and parents alike, it was a huge success.
The event was the first of its kind for the city of Manchester, although similar events have been held by neighboring communities and local school districts. A few of the families came from Pacific and Fenton to attend this inaugural event.
Stephanie Hardesty, recreation supervisor of the Manchester Parks, Recreation, and Arts department, coordinated the event. Hardesty described it as “a great opportunity for all of the city of Manchester’s departments, as well as some local businesses, to come together to offer a free evening for the community.”
In addition to the usual suspects of a fire truck and ambulance, courtesy of West County EMS & Fire Protection District, and various police vehicles from the Manchester Police Department, the array of vehicles also featured vehicles used in the public works and parks departments.
The city showcased a dump truck, backhoe tractor and skid-steer loader, although the aerial lift truck [sometimes known as a cherry picker or bucket truck] was an overwhelming favorite – especially to 3-year-old Garrett, son of Alderman Rich Baumann [Ward 3]. Sitting in the driver’s seat and honking the horn was a particular favorite and a common theme among all the children in attendance.
Older sister Lucy Baumann, age 5, had different ideas. She particularly loved painting a snow plow blade [painter’s choice of red or blue] that will be used this winter to clear city streets. Over and over, children named the snow plow blade painting the “best part.” Manchester Recreation and Arts Specialist Kat Douglas, who oversaw that aspect of the event, said it was a particularly popular hot spot during the hammering downpours, since it was held under a tent.
Another overwhelming favorite for preschool-aged kids was the Parkway School District bus. One of the newer CNG buses was at the event, which excited not only prospective future students but also their parents, since it runs on healthier fuel and releases fewer air pollutants than diesel.
Mason was one of the older school-aged attendees who found himself drawn to the three jeeps. Local resident A.J. Brady offered a closer look at his 1940s jeep, while the Klein family provided two climbing jeeps, which are jacked-up versions perfect for off-roading.
Getting in on the action was MoDOT, which brought an Emergency Response Vehicle and, as Hardesty described it, the easily recognizable “big yellow truck” from their fleet. Also participating was the commercial business Valley Material, which brought a cement truck for the vehicle enthusiasts.
Due to the inclement weather, a scheduled appearance from Arch Helicopter was cancelled at the last minute.
“A huge thank you to our city departments and all the community and residential partners who made this a success,” said Hardesty. “Despite the rainy start, we will definitely offer this event next year!”