The Junior Woman’s Club of Milford hosted its 20th annual Touch a Truck event Sunday, June 3, giving kids of all ages a rare opportunity to climb into the driver’s seat of dozens of larger than life vehicles.

Nearly 900 community members enjoyed a family fun day filled with major “wow” factors, as they climbed 10 feet up into the driver’s seat of dozens of supersized vehicles including fire trucks, police trucks, Department of Transportation monster snowplows equipped with wing plows, antique vehicles, tow trucks, bucket/ cherry picker utility trucks, front end loaders, a school bus, and police ATV’s. They even toured inside the Police Mobile Command Center.

This popular annual held at Eisenhower Park, 780 North Street in Milford, encouraged kids to get behind the wheel and hoot the horns, wearing bright yellow construction hats handed out with each admission ticket. New for the second year, a “quiet hour” was held from 11 a.m. to 12 noon (no horns). Visitors also enjoyed face painting and numerous food trucks.

“We have a ton of volunteers that come out from all different companies around town,” explained co-president Rebecca Flynn of the Junior Woman’s Club. “Towing companies, tree removal companies, the Fire Department, the Police Department, all send trucks - we have between 30-40 trucks attend, all voluntary, and the proceeds go back to the club to support many of the different events we sponsor, including high school scholarships for two senior students each year; we also hold the only citywide spelling bee left in Connecticut for 5th and 6th graders.”

The Junior Woman’s Club, which currently consists of 25 members, hosts “probably seven fundraisers each year but this is our biggest,” continued Flynn. “We do Breakfast with Santa, Paint Nights, clothing drives and we probably give to about 10 local organizations each year and we also have a fund we use for different appeals that we get. Last year a Mom reached out to us to help pay for her kids to go to summer camp while she went to work. Another family had a fire in their house so we gave them a check to help hold them over until their insurance check came.”

“Also,” said Flynn, “we just took over the Respect Campaign which used to be the Milford’s Promise event. It’s a peer nominated program based on showing respect for themselves, others and their community. They’re nominated by their peers and then an ambassador is chosen from each school, it’s a really big deal, it’s a nice honor. There aren’t a lot of things that are focused on that - we talk about kindness and being good to your neighbor and honor those kids. We all marched in the Memorial Day Parade and there were over 100 of us. In addition to our events, we also donate back. We basically zero out our accounts each year using all the funds we raise, giving back to organizations we donate to annually (United Way and its Diaper Bank, Keeping Milford Warm, the Get in Touch Foundation, the Rape Crisis Center).

Hundreds of families enjoyed the event in the park. “We have two-year-old twins and this is a great learning experience for them,” said Kim Sauter. “It helps teach them about different trucks and what they are and it’s a really fun day!”

“This is a great day for the kids, they’re really enjoying my antique 1939 Mack Fire truck,” said George Ambriscoe. “We’re giving away red balloons, and flyers to help promote our Fire Apparatus Show and Muster fundraiser held Sept. 8, it’s our 47th year and we’ll have about 100 fire trucks here. The proceeds will benefit Camp Happiness summer camp for children with special needs.” Ambriscoe is the fire show event co-founder along with his brother and is retired from the Milford Fire Department after serving 38.5 years.

“We try to come each year and help out with the community, let the kids play and have fun and see that we’re human beings,” added Officer Amarone, who guided kids on and off his ATV police vehicle. “It’s a great event, everyone seems to like it and the kids seem to be really enthusiastic about it, it’s a good day for the parents too,” agreed Officer Dempsey. “This is our Milford mobile command van, it’s not a lock up cell, it’s more of an office setting, we set this up for special events.”

The Junior Woman’s Club celebrates its 50th anniversary this year after its inception and first meeting was held May 6, 1968. The club is currently seeking new members; visit www.milfordjuniors.org for information.