Children get hands on at Truck-a-Palooza at Kirkland City Hall

For two hours last weekend, children were able to interact with a variety of vehicles, from garbage trucks to emergency response rigs.

There have always been children who insist on waking up early to watch and greet their favorite hulking green garbage truck as it makes its rounds for the day or those who are fascinated when flashing lights and loud sirens rapidly travel down a street. On Oct. 12, children were able to get hands on with their local heroes at the Truck-a-Palooza event at Kirkland City Hall.

For two hours, children were able to interact with a variety of vehicles, from garbage trucks to emergency response rigs and were able to explore different types of heavy machinery, but also to learn about the people who operate them on a daily basis.

Hundreds of children with black plastic hard hats scrambled up metal stairs and ladders to eagerly occupy driver seats, mimicking the process of operating the vehicles while parents looked on and snapped photos of their beaming children.

Vehicles on site included fire trucks, police cars, garbage trucks, vactor trucks and other heavy equipment.

Kellie Stickney, communications program manager for the city of Kirkland, said the purpose of the day was to allow children the opportunity to interact with city vehicles, but also to educate the public on preparing for the coming seasons.

“Each of these trucks is a conversation starter,” Stickney said. “When you see the vactor truck, you can have a conversation about why it’s important to keep leaves out of storm drains or when you see the snow plow, we can talk to residents about winter snow plow routes and get them starting to think about being prepared for snow events.”

Stickney said it’s important the public sees whatt their tax-payer dollars are going toward, but also to see all the services beyond city vehicles that are there to assist the public.

“If you go inside, there’s our passport offices. You can pay your utility bill and then downstairs there’s our folks from our own internal waste management folks…I mean, it’s just everyone’s here today,” Stickney said at the event.

In conjunction with Truck-a-Palooza City Hall also hosted a sustainability fair where the public learned about ways to be more eco-friendly.

Kirkland Mayor Penny Sweet also enjoyed the festivities and one aspect she liked about Truck-a-Palooza was the fact that children got the opportunity to interact with other trucks and cars besides the highly publicized fire trucks and police cars, exposing children to other careers options that are equally as important in keeping a city fully operational and safe.

“It’s great exposure for kids when they’re developing their ideas for their careers in the future,” Sweet said.

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