The only thing that is more fun than sitting in the cab of a front loader is sitting inside the front loader.
Photo by Donna Manz.
The dream to climb aboard construction and heavy-duty equipment and emergency vehicles came true for hundreds of children on May 24. That is when the Town of Vienna hosted its annual Public Works Day at its property yard on Mill Street, running from 2 to 6 p.m. There aren’t many communities that can pull off a display of stationary trucks but Vienna manages to turn the event into a carnival-kind of atmosphere, with free refreshments, bags of freshly-popped popcorn, tattoos, and lots of honking horns. Not surprisingly, the free raffle featured heavy equipment toys.
The replica yellow plastic hardhats were a big hit … as hot as it was, the kids walked around the grounds wearing them. Parents, snapping away photos with cameras and phones, were happy, too, seeing the children happy.
"The kids love it because they get to see all of the vehicles up close," said Vienna mom Alyssa Lehman, with daughter Maddie, 3, and son Carter, 21 months, in tow. "My son waits for the trash truck every week, and for him to see it up close is so exciting.
"Both my son and daughter also loved just climbing in and out of all the vehicles," Lehman said. "The animal control truck, front loader, street sweeper and police car were their favorites."
Public Works has held an annual Open House since 2002. Two Public Works employees man each vehicle, helping the children in and out, answering questions, and helping the littlest guests honk the horns as older children do themselves.
"Besides watching how much fun my children had, I like that I learn a lot," said Sarah Glassman, adding that daughter Anna liked the street sweeper the most and sister Abby, the police car. "I never stopped to think how the town might locate a sewer pipe clog [with a remote control camera] or how a street sweeper works," she said. "I appreciate the time that the town employees give to this event. Everyone was so informative about the vehicles and helpful lifting kids in and out of the trucks."
There were police cruisers with flashing lights, a Vienna police department animal control truck with pretend animals inside, and one police motorcycle that children were hoisted on to. There was a backhoe, garbage truck, front-loader, dump truck, sewer truck, street sweeper, cherry pickers, ditch digger and trucks not immediately identifiable to the untrained eye. Public Works staff answered questions from parents and children.
For many families, Public Works Day is a traditional outing.
"What I love about Public Works Day is that it not only allows the kids to see and climb into all of the big trucks and vehicles, it also allows them to actually meet the people who do so much work to help our town," said Lehman.