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Annual Touch-A-Truck attracts huge crowd

Jayson Nichols is a five-year-old from Marysville who was getting a kick out of flicking the switches on the traffic light at the Marysville Touch-A-Truck. The Sept. 9 event as Asbery Field let citizens get their hands on city hardware, for free. Its cool, said Nichols. From left are public works engineering aide Bryan Morrison, Nichols, traffic control engineer Tom King, and Tiffany Tanner. -
Jayson Nichols is a five-year-old from Marysville who was getting a kick out of flicking the switches on the traffic light at the Marysville Touch-A-Truck. The Sept. 9 event as Asbery Field let citizens get their hands on city hardware, for free. Its cool, said Nichols. From left are public works engineering aide Bryan Morrison, Nichols, traffic control engineer Tom King, and Tiffany Tanner.
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MARYSVILLE One of this citys annual highlights drew a huge crowd from far and wide during the Touch-A-Truck at Asbery Field on Sept. 8.
About 20 different vehicles from several city departments and other agencies were displayed for the public to climb over and examine, with toddlers of all ages getting behind the wheels of tractors, dump trucks, snowplows, fire engines, garbage trucks and many others. The sunny day was a draw for many folks, but Touch-A-Truck is popular even when its raining hard, like during last years event.
Julie Shepler of Stanwood was there with her husband Mark and they got a kick out of their three-and-a-half-year-old son Alex exulting behind the wheel of a $200,000 dump truck. One of the largest chassis in the city inventory, the brand new truck had a snowplow attached to the front bumper and a sander on the back. As Alex honked the horn his mom explained that he looks forward to the event, wearing his Touch-A-Truck t-shirt all year.
He loves it, she said.
Organizers said Saturdays crowd was the biggest ever, with the line for the train ride forming shortly after the morning opening and stretching for about 50 yards. It never let up, according to Marysville Parks and Recreation Department recreation coordinator Tara Mizelle. Her departments lawn mowers were a hit, with kids climbing over the industrial-size machines.
Katie Schnautz, of Bothell, was sitting in the glass cab of one of the smaller tractors with her doll as mother Jennifer explained how they drove all the way from Bothell just for the event.
They learn about the different trucks, she said.
Most of the biggest hardware on display was from the Marysville Public Works Department, and that included a huge Vactor truck used to clean out storm water drains with a foot-wide hose. There were also vehicles from the Marysville Fire District, Marysville Police Department and Community Transit on hand; the bus had a constant line of visitors streaming through.
Keaton McPherron, of Mill Creek, was chatting with police officer James Maples after touring the Snohomish County emergency response van, which is usually stationed in Marysville. Nearby Lisa Robinette has her four kids, aged two to eight, sitting on the police chopper, taking their picture. The Marysville woman said Touch-A-Truck is a good place for her kids to meet the people who help run the city.
They just love to come and see all the vehicles in the city, Robinette said. Its less intimidating to see them in this environment and they like the horns.
Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall said the event continues to grow in popularity and helps workers show how they keep many of the behind the scenes functions working properly. Most people are surprised at the equipment the city has, including shared properties like the emergency van.
I think it helps people understand what we are about, Kendall said. I think the dads are enjoying it just as much as the kids do.
Many civic groups were also present. The Marysville PTA was selling childrens bike helmets for only $9 for their Safe Kids Coalition, and they had sold 29 during the five-hour event, according to Steve Campbell. The Marysville Kiwanis sold out of everything, hot dogs, soda pop and popcorn as thirsty and hungry patrons bought everything up quickly.

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