Touch-A-Truck event is Saturday

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:13 p.m.

Would you like to get up close and personal with a really BIG vehicle?



What: The 4th annual Sweet Dreams Touch-A-Truck.
When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Citizens Field, 1028 NE 14th St.
Cost: Free, but there will be a charge for food, ice cream, and some children’s activities.
Information: Call 352-334-5065.

If so, then you don’t want to miss the 4th annual Sweet Dreams Touch-A-Truck.

There also will be safety information available, along with children’s activities and food.

Sponsored by the Sweet Dreams Foundation, Sweet Dreams Homemade Ice Cream of Gainesville and Gainesville Fire Rescue, the event will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Citizens Field at 1028 NE 14th St.

Michael Manfredi, owner of Sweet Dreams, said the foundation is a charitable organization formed for the purpose of sponsoring safety programs, such as the Touch-A-Truck event, which raises safety awareness for minors about large vehicles.

Admission is free, but there is a nominal charge for some activities, including a dunking booth, bounce houses, hot air balloon rides, water balloon slingshot, lazer tag, inflatable water slide, face painting, games, and food, which will consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, bananas and ice cream.

Proceeds will benefit Camp Amigo! for kids who are victims of burns. The camp is located at the Billy Jo Rish State Park in Apalachicola.

Krista Gonzalez, risk reduction specialist at Gainesville Fire Rescue, said Touch-A-Truck is a family event that attracts people of all ages to support a great cause. “It gives an opportunity for people to climb in and out of vehicles and get close and personal, which is something they would not normally do,” said Gonzalez. “We want to keep it family friendly and inexpensive. We want to make sure everyone can be included.”

Again this year, Gonzalez said there will be “quiet time” from 9-10 a.m. for younger children and those with sensory problems, so they can enjoy the vehicles without the noise of horns, sirens or bullhorns.

Children and adults will have an opportunity to tour 90 vehicles on display, including fire engines, police cars, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Bear Cat, tree-trimming vehicles from Sky Frog, a school bus from the Alachua County School Board, a bucket truck from the city of Gainesville, REMAX hot air balloon, a Forest Meadows Funeral home hearse, Florida Fish and Wildlife truck and boat, Florida Deptartment of Transportation dump truck, LifeSouth Bloodmobile, Alachua County Animal Control vehicle, a race car from the University of Florida College of Mechanical Engineering, and other vehicles.

Drivers will be on hand to talk about their vehicles and to offer safety information for pedestrians, including blind spots, how to be safe around large vehicles, and other concerns.

Participants also are encouraged to bring nonperishable and canned food donations for the Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida, which provides food to school children to carry home on the weekends.

“Last year, we collected 1,300 pounds of food donations,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said this year, free safety bicycle helmets for children and adults, which will be available on a first-come, first-served, will be provided by the Florida Department of Transportation Safe Routes to Schools Grant.

“It has grown into a very fun family event I hope will make its way to the community’s calendar,” Manfredi said. “First and foremost, it’s a frundraiser for Camp Amigo!”

To volunteer and for more information, call 352-219-6653 or email

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