How often are children told to look but not touch?
That will not be the case when the Partnership for Children of Wayne County brings a novel approach to the proverbial teachable moment next month, with its "Touch a Truck" event at the fairgrounds.
"It's so appropriate for our organization," said executive director Charlie Ivey.
"We're dealing with kids from the time they know what a truck is to the time they start school."
On Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the fairgrounds will be turned into a giant parking lot for an array of vehicles.
"We want vehicles that really, children have not been able to get so close to -- dump trucks, cranes, a big rig, semi-truck, ATV equipment," said Valerie Wallace, assistant executive director.
"We're working on things like a race car. We're hoping to have a bus."
The goal is to have 40 to 50 vehicles on the grounds, the organizers said.
Efforts are still being made to secure all sorts of large machinery, with an open invitation to individuals, companies or organizations in a position to loan such items being asked to contact the Partnership.
"Keep in mind that we want a variety and not several of the same thing -- farm equipment, industrial equipment, transportation," Ivey said.
The event is a fundraiser, supporting ongoing programs at the Partnership. Cost for admission is $5 per person. Children 2 and younger will be admitted free.
But equally important is that it will be a special day for children and families.
"Children can actually touch (the vehicles), get in them, possibly blow the horns," said Ms. Wallace.
"They can talk to the people who work with them every day."
For young children who have sensory sensitivity or challenges with loud noises, there will be a "quiet hour" from 10 until 11 a.m., the organizers said. During that time, there will no loud noises or honking permitted.
There will also be other amenities during the event, including food vendors, such as hot dogs and shaved ice, and other kid-friendly activities.
"There will be a sandpile where kids can play with their own trucks," Ivey said.
"Best Sand and Gravel will be providing the sand for the sandbox."
Anyone who works with efforts to engage children, such as inflatables, is also invited to contact the Partnership for details on how to participate.
Sponsors are also needed, said Chrissy Smith, community liaison. Different sponsorship levels are available, with the donors' names to be included on the back of a T-shirt and tickets issued to them.
The upcoming event promises to be fun for all ages, and the organizers issued a "save the date" request for families to plan to attend.
"It's a good way to spend a Saturday right before they go back to school," Mrs. Smith said.
"The Partnership is all about age-appropriate activities and particularly hands on," Ivey added. "This coincides so well, especially with young children, so they get to see the world close up."
To contact the Partnership, call 919-735-3371.