WALKERTON – This year’s Touch-a-Truck event on June 11, put on by the Walkerton Firefighters Association, drew a record crowd.
After a two-year break because of COVID, the event was back, better than ever. People were eager to get out and enjoy the spectacular weather with their friends and families.
Some – a lot – came for breakfast. At one point, the lineup pretty much snaked around the entire parking lot. One of the organizers, Mike Loos, said the final numbers aren’t in yet, but he estimates around 800 people were served.
About 1,000 attended the event.
“We sure lucked out on the weather - this was by far the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,” said Loos.
Who could resist the opportunity to see so many fascinating vehicles in one location? Loos said there were over 40 vehicle and equipment exhibitors. There was everything from massive pieces of industrial equipment to race cars.
Regarding the latter, champion driver Del Freiburger from Racing Team #37 was at the event, celebrating his 12th birthday. He and his grandfather Marvin Freiburger, the other half of the team, are famous locally for their wins, and for donating their prize money to charity.
The most popular vehicles were, of course, the giant red trucks filled with emergency equipment. Kids were invited to climb inside and imagine themselves heading out to assist people at the scene of an emergency.
In addition to Walkerton’s fire and rescue trucks, there were trucks and crews from neighbouring Hanover and Mildmay. The latter parked its beautifully cared for antique truck next to a new aerial truck, evidence of how much firefighting has changed over the years.
Fire trucks weren’t the only emergency vehicles there. An ambulance was on hand, and the Ontario Provincial Police brought some definitely non-traditional vehicles in addition to a cruiser.
While the event was in some ways more modest than in past pre-COVID years – no bouncy castles and the like – there was face painting and Chuckles the Balloon Twister. And there was the chance for the kids (and a parent or two) to locate the controls to the air horns on some of the big rigs, which was better than jumping around in inflatables.
Loos said the firefighters association would like to thank all the event sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and most of all, the many people who attended this event.
“We look forward to running it again next year!”
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times