Touch A Truck Makes Grand Return to Auburndale
by James Coulter
After a yearlong hiatus due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Touch A Truck made its grand return to Downtown Auburndale. More than a dozen vehicles of all shapes and sizes from the city’s police, fire, street, and sanitation departments were showcased in Central Park on Saturday.
On display this year was the fire department’s new ladder truck. The shiny new red vehicle had a 107-foot ladder, the biggest apparatus in the department, explained Scott Finley, Fire Marshal.
Aside from allowing children and families to take pictures with the vehicle, the participating fire staff took the opportunity to explain local public safety concerns including car heat death. They instructed attendees to not leave their children and pets inside the car during hot weather.
“We had a lot of good interaction with the kids and parents,” said Marshal Finley. “[We appreciate] the interaction with the parents, in terms of getting the message our for hot car related safety. Getting their feedback has been the most fun. It has been the most personal to them.”
The annual outdoor event has been a staple in Downtown Auburndale for nearly seven years. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, last year’s event was canceled.
This year’s event was hosted as scheduled with extra precautions and measures taken to ensure public safety and health during these uncertain times. Hand-sanitizing stations and masks were available, and physical distancing was encouraged.
Bond Clinic also hosted temperature screenings at two booths on either end of the event. Ashely Conrad Scanlan, Marketing Director for Bond Clinic, mentioned how many attendees willfully participated with the temperature screenings, and not a single person had a high temperature.
“The turnout has been wonderful,” she said. “We couldn’t ask for better day for weather. So that has been a beautiful thing. But I think it is seeing so many smiling faces and being able to connect with the community, Bond Clinic thrives on events like this, and seeing people face to face, answering questions, that is what we love to do.”
Cody McGhee, Director of Parks and Recreation, was pleasantly surprised by the turnout that day. He owed the steady turnout to the great weather and to many people wanting to come out after a yearlong absence of local events.
Touch A Truck was a small test to see how many people would attend a local outdoor event. He hopes for future events to be hosted and to experience satisfactory turnouts.
“I think we are coming out of the desire of not wanting to be at events, and people want to come out and do events, especially outdoors events where people still feel a little safe and secure,” McGhee said. “This was our kick off [event], and we wanted to continue to go back to our
normal routine with some modification. [We are] paying attention to the size of things, and paying attention to how people are expected to come, and still doing things safe and smart.”