PHOTO GALLERY: Tons of Trucks provides delight for children, parents

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 | 8:38 p.m. CDT; updated 4:23 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 7, 2011
Mason Armstrong, 2, sits inside a Bobcat on Wednesday at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Tons of Trucks event. Armstrong wore a hat with a tow truck on it from the Disney movie "Cars" to show his love of cars and trucks.

COLUMBIA — Loud honking could be heard throughout Cosmopolitan Park on Wednesday afternoon. And it was not because of a traffic jam.

The park was filled with a crowd of families and various trucks, all congregating for the annual Tons of Trucks event, sponsored by Columbia Parks and Recreation and Parents as Teachers.

Parents and children of all ages roamed around the park, taking pictures and playing inside and outside the various trucks and vehicles. The energy and delight emanating from the event was not just from the children, but the parents as well. 

"It's just something you don't get to see every day," Kevin Fletcher, who attended the event with his son, said. "Kids get to play with them as toys from a young age and then see them in real life."

Fletcher and his son Dylan, 3 and a half, have been coming to Tons of Trucks for at least three years. His son's favorite truck of the day? Dylan pointed at a large tow truck with an orange hook.

In addition to tow trucks, the park was filled with a number of construction and work vehicles, including a firetruck, ambulance, dump truck, FedEx truck and a special Columbia police rescue vehicle. 

Children were allowed to play and explore inside the vehicles, many climbing in and taking a seat behind the steering wheel. That's where the honking began. 

"Gosh," a woman said, covering her ears in surprise as a child loudly honked the horn of a truck behind her.

Tim Kinney and his son Jake, 2 and a half, were also in attendance. Their favorite was the trash truck. "We had to see it," Kinney said. 

A few rows over, Hayden, 3, climbed into the firetruck. As he clutched the steering wheel, his whole face lit up with excitement. 

"He eats this up," his grandmother, Debbie Stidham, said as she turned to her grandson. "Woo hoo! Smile! Honk the horn," she said to him, waving. 

As Hayden exited the firetruck, he bumped his head on the door, but appeared unfazed. "He's three," Stidham said, shaking her head with a laugh. 

Boys weren't the only ones enjoying the trucks either. "We came last year. Our daughter enjoyed it," Heather Guess, who brought her 2-year-old daughter, Madelyn, said. 

Hayden Stidham, 3, poses for his mom in a truck Wednesday while Abe Anderson stands by at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Tons of Trucks event. Stidham's favorite truck was the tow truck.
Jasson Furrer places Ellery, 20 months, and Caleb, 4, in the scoop of a backhoe on Wednesday at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Tons of Trucks event.
Owen Eyink, 2, tries to steer a crane on Wednesday at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Tons of Trucks event.
Gavin Raynolds, 13 months, stands in a miniature car on Wednesday at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Tons of Trucks event. The smaller car gave the smaller children a place to play.

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