TUPELO • For nearly 13 years, Leigh Ann Mattox has lined up trucks, cars and other vehicles in one place to the delight of lots of youngsters.
The Tupelo Parks & Recreation director is, once again, feverishly working on the annual Touch-A-Truck, but because of a scheduling conflict in its usual venue, this year the event will be at Veterans Park on Saturday, Sept. 14.
The vehicles will be set up in the softball parking lot between the Aquatic Center and Fire Station 3.
For the second year, Mattox has planned for the first hour of Touch-A-Truck to be a sensory-friendly hour.
“That means from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m., there will be no horns or sirens,” Mattox said. “This is for kids who are autistic or are in some way disturbed by the loud noises.”
Beginning at 10 a.m., sirens, horns and other vehicular sounds will commence.
Mattox will have at least 25 vehicles on site, including a race car, one of the earlier book mobiles, bulldozers, dump trucks, fire trucks, tractors, emergency and service vehicles.
“Whatever I can find,” Mattox said. “I’m looking for anything that serves a purpose in our community.”
And those participating will learn, up close and personal, about the purpose the vehicles serve in their communities.
Mattox knows first-hand Touch-A-Truck matters to kids and their families.
“One year I received an email from a woman who had brought her little boy,” she said. “She said before she could even get around to help him out of the car, he was gone, but she knew where he was going. He ran straight from the parking lot to the garbage truck.
“People have asked me to do this more than once a year. But I just feel it would lose its uniqueness.”
In addition to the vehicles on hand for young people to see and hear and touch, there’ll be an extra surprise.
A helicopter from Hospital Wing in Memphis is slated to be present in Veterans Park.
There will be inflatables, a lesson for kids on the quick-change of a race car tire and maybe even an opportunity to move some dirt with a mini excavator.
Jo’s Cafe food truck will be on hand for hungry folks of all ages.