concrete truck

A concrete truck is displayed at the Big Truck Day exhibit.

The 10th annual Big Truck Day at Elk Grove Regional Park gave Alexander Leon a chance to get a close-up look at the hulking vehicles that provide services around the city. He came to the May 19 event with his father and his grandparents.

“He’s the truck guy right there, the little short one,” Alexander’s grandfather Bill said as the family checked out a garbage truck.

Reimagined as a drive-thru because of social distancing requirements, Big Truck Day had to go “virtual” last year. The 2021 event was a welcome opportunity for the city to restart offering activities for local residents, city spokesperson Kristyn Laurence said.

“FitFest was last month. It was the first thing we were able to do,” the city public affairs manager said. “And this is only our second event since everything was shut down. It’s nice to be able to connect with the community again, even if it’s only in a limited way.”

Jeff Werner, who manages Elk Grove’s Engineering Services Division, said he was “really proud” of the staff who had the drive-thru idea, noting that it has allowed the Public Works Department “to get back to what we love to do, which is outreach to the community, educate people about public works and the important role it plays in the community.”

As they wended their way through the park, visitors saw 16 trucks and other vehicles involved in city maintenance, including a concrete truck, two kinds of excavators and a towering tree trimmer.

Werner highlighted a brand-new road-striping machine from Centerline Striping Co.

“We’re lucky to have it here today,” he said.

Carrie Jones, with Centerline, was telling children about the striper, explaining matters like the highly reflective, quick-drying paint that the machine uses. She wanted the guests to understand the importance of the striper in safe roads.

“It has a lot of benefits in helping people drive safely,” Jones said.

Bear Electrical Solutions employee Sean Hainsey was enjoying the oohs and aahs of the children passing the bucket truck that he uses to work on traffic signals and street lights.

“It’s a lot of mental and sometimes physical,” Hainsey said of his job. “It’s a pretty cool industry to be in. It’s a lot of fun.”

Beyond showcasing giant vehicles, the city also uses Big Truck Day to mark National Public Works Week, whose “focus is to educate the public about the value and necessities of public works projects throughout our country,” the Big Truck Day webpage announces.

Like Alexander was, children are “always intrigued by the trucks when they see them on the road, right?” Laurence said. “We hear a lot about the kids that love their garbage man, and they go out and visit with him when he comes to service their house, and this gives them another chance to see them all together at one time.”

Though he had fun, Alexander was “a little disappointed he doesn’t get to go climb through (the trucks) this year,” his father, Michael, said.

He asked his son, “You’re going to drive them?”

Alexander nodded, “Uh-huh.”