Hundreds come out for Touch a Truck

Published 8:43 pm Monday, November 5, 2018

Children flocked to the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum on Saturday for a closer look at some exciting cars and trucks while dressed up in their spooky-fun outfits.

The sixth annual “Touch a Truck, Train and Trick or Treat” held by the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society was postponed a week due to inclement weather. But that just gave the children another opportunity to dress up and get some candy under clear blue skies.

“It’s extended life for those costumes,” said Vonnie Young, one of the parents.

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Tiny superheroes, Pokémon and astronauts played in the sandbox with construction vehicle toys and enjoyed free popcorn, and families enjoyed even more treats served up by vendors like El Korita Restaurante and Pourfavor. There was also plenty of candy at each of the vehicles on display.

The annual event was started by Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society members, originally to raise money for the railroad museum, according to Tommy Arthur, assistant treasurer for the society. It’s since received so much support over the years that it’s become one of the society’s biggest fundraisers.

This year’s Touch a Truck had the support of nearly two dozen sponsors and more than 900 attendees, according to the historical society’s Executive Director Kimberly Blair Greene, and the best part is the look on every small child’s face when he or she is face-to-face with a vehicle they rarely get to see.

“They just love this stuff, and it’s so neat to see their little faces,” she said.

There was a long line for the Suffolk Iron Works crane, while other costumed children eagerly hopped into trucks designed for hauling and towing. Others were pulling the levers on an excavator.

James Ludwig watched his son James Ludwig Jr., 2, gleefully turn the steering wheel on a tractor that was as red as his Power Ranger costume.

“He’s got a little one at the house that he plays with all the time,” Ludwig said while his son was in the driver’s seat. “He’s always fascinated with these big old things. It’s hard for me to get him off of it sometimes.”

Families toured the railroad museum and looked inside the 1962 Norfolk and Western train caboose that sits outside. They were also given tours of police cars and emergency vehicles by the professionals themselves.

A cacophony of chattering children and loud car horns and sirens accompanied the fun sights, making the children even more excited, according to Julie Hoefling, an EMT with American Lifeline Medical Transport Inc.

Hoefling brought children into the front of the ambulance to flip siren switches.

“They love it,” she said. “Some of them have asked to do it a couple of times. They jump and it makes them giggle.”

The event was a tremendous success, according to Arthur, estimated ticket sales and the seemingly endless honking by children in each vehicle.

“Personally, I say it’s more than successful. It’s the best one we’ve had,” he said.