TOWNSEND -- There is seldom a good time to hear the words, "Get into the police car."
But at this year's Truck-a-Palooza visitors can climb into squad cars without consequence or arrest. For one day only, Sept. 22, residents will be free to climb onto or into a variety of muncipal and privately owned trucks and heavy equipment.
The fifth annual event has evolved into so much more than the opportunity to touch a truck. Sponsored by Townsend Public Library along with Friends of the Library, the event drew nearly 400 people last year. The free event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the library.
The event was created by Molly Benevides, the children's librarian, with local police and fire vehicles. It has since grown to include construction trucks, State Police cars and sheriff's office cruisers, ambulances and SWAT rigs. Its attractions have also expanded beyond the truck-touching.
A massive toy sale, which last year saw about 1,000 donated toys resold to visitors, is one of the featured events and a primary fundraiser. Proceeds go to the non-profit Friends of the Library, which uses the money for scholarships and charitable donations to the library.
And, in keeping with the climbing-on-things thing, there will be a 28-foot climbing wall. A Department of Correction police K-9 will be performing crime-solving including sleeve attacks and cell-phone sniff-outs. A petting zoo and pony rides will be set up for youngsters.
Food will be available from the Lions Club, with proceeds helping other local charities. A mobile health clinic will be offering free vision, hearing and blood pressure check-ups. Cotton candy sale revenue will be donated to maintain the town playground.