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Touch a Truck another success

Updated: May 31

A fundraiser for a Langton daycare also serves as an educational tool about farming.

The second annual Touch a Truck event in Langton was held on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., outside of Langton Little People’s Day Care, the entity it supports.

Jessica Van Laecke, who is one of the organizers of the event with her sister-in-law Candice VanHie. The two attended the Woodstock Touch a Truck in 2022. VanHie is the president of the daycare and saw it as a fundraiser to assist with programming costs.

“We said we could easily replicate this,” Van Laecke said. “That’s really what sparked the idea.”

After the initial event last year, Touch a Truck was back bigger and better this year. The concept of the event is it allows youth, and adults, to take a closer look at the large trucks, tractors and machinery they see on the roads or fields.

“A lot of kids and even adults, they don’t get the opportunity to get up close to see farm equipment and emergency vehicles,” Van Laecke said. “We wanted to provide the opportunity to get up close.”

At the initial event last year, there was equipment along with face painting and bouncy castles. This year had these attractions, plus a 4-H display with an animal education booth, a kid’s race track for trikes through a straw bale course and characters from Paw Patrol.

Emergency vehicles last year were fire trucks and police cruisers. This year saw the OPP bring ATVs, an ambulance and the Ministry of Natural Resources. In the latter booth, conservation officer Kyle Mauthe had a display of animal pelts.

“That was another highlight of the day was that trailer with the furs from animals that kids don’t normally get the opportunity to see or feel. That was a really big hit with the kids,” Van Laecke said.

The display count doubled from last year. There were Fendt, Kubota and John Deere tractors, a John Deere articulating tractor, an antique tractor, and a tractor with a tobacco planter. Agriculture equipment was supplied by local farm families, Dey’s Equipment and Norfolk Tractor.

In addition, there was a concrete pumper from East Elgin Concrete, a crane and a surprise hit – the Norfolk Disposal Services garbage truck.

“Kids loved getting in the garbage trucks,” Van Laecke recounted. “It was just getting to see them. You never get to see them up close.”

Rising country singer and Norfolk County native Olivia Mae Graham performed during the event. She attended Norfolk Little People’s when she was younger.

“She was great with the kids,” Van Laecke said.

The focus of the event was not agriculture, but it was an opportunity to share information about farming to non-agriculture families who have moved into Norfolk County.

Van Laecke is not originally from the area, but is a partner in Horizon Seeds with her husband Curtis, and in-laws Angela and Rick Van Laecke. VanHie and her husband Mike are growers for Horizon. The Van Laecke family has a history in tobacco growing. With Norfolk County being called Ontario’s Garden, Van Laecke said this event was an opportunity to share information on the area’s agriculture roots.

“There’s always an opportunity to educate,” she said. “A lot of the families that go to that to the day care center are farm families. As the community is growing, some aren’t from a farming background or country background. They see them (tractors) running down the road but never get opportunity to stop and take a look at one.”

Despite being a windy, cooler day, the turnout was great, with more than 500 people in attendance.

“I heard feedback from some parents saying their kids didn’t want to leave,” Van Laecke said.

As for next year, plans are to make it even bigger and better. 


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