Welcome your children, or buddies for that matter, to their dreams come true.

Hundreds of vehicles of all shapes and sizes will be available for kids and adults to climb on, sit in, pretend to drive, honk, flash the lights and wail the siren. Think fire trucks, tractors, moving machinery, buses, emergency response vehicles, dump trucks and more. The Junior League of Colorado Springs’ ninth annual Touch-A-Truck Weekend is Friday through Sunday at Norris-Penrose Event Center.

“Kids are able to explore vehicles they see all the time but aren’t able to get close to because it’s dangerous,” said Rebekah Gans, president of the Junior League of Colorado Springs.

Up to 10,000 people attend the event, which also features vendors, food trucks and a bounce house and race track for kids. While Saturday and Sunday promise to be noise-filled, Friday evening is billed as the sensory-friendly portion of the activities. It’s the time to bring folks with post-traumatic stress disorder or kids on the autism spectrum. Truck owners turn off the horns, sirens and flashing lights, and make the event accessible to those who might not otherwise be able to attend.

“One year we had a mom who was blind,” said Gans. “Usually this event would be so loud, she couldn’t know where her children were. In the military community, with its PTSD, loud noises and big crowds can create an environment where they can’t be present.”

One of the Junior League’s missions is to create a community environment that supports children, families and women. Touch-A-Truck was started as a way to raise money for the league’s community initiatives, and it now benefits the Fostering Change Initiative, which helps provide resources to youths who are aging out of the foster system.

“The risks associated with that are homelessness, human trafficking and domestic violence,” said Gans. “It’s our job as community members to surround a child as they’re aging out, because all of sudden they’re alone and it’s easy for them to fall into these systems with no support system in place.”

JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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