Vehicles educate, entertain

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Horns were blaring and sirens wailing outside the Lifelong Learning Center in Oak Grove May 6.

Fifteen vehicles – buses, emergency vehicles, motorcycles and more – were parked outside for the St. Francis School District Early Childhood program’s annual Vehicle Day event.

More than 100 children climbed aboard vehicles to explore.

According to Amanda Ulrich, chairperson of the event, more “everyday” vehicles that kids might see on the road were included in this year’s lineup, such as a camper, two motorcycles and a semi truck.

The camper, owned by Janet Sahlstrom, was a favorite with many little ones, maybe because snacks were available inside, she said.

Dexter Munoz, 4, checked out Sahlstrom’s motorcycle, pretending to drive wildly.

“Uh oh, cops!” Dexter exclaimed when he heard sirens across the field.

A towering crane returned after a several-year absence. An ambulance, buses, fire trucks, a motor grader, a snow plow, a water rescue boat and a wheel loader were also on display.

Children loved riding a lift meant for people with disabilities on a Rise Inc. bus. While fun was had, children learned from Ron Woolcott the true purpose of the lift.

The event aims to get kids comfortable with vehicles and eliminate fears they may have, particularly fears associated with emergency vehicles, Ulrich said.

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Ron Woolcott allows kids to ride the lift intended for people with disabilities on the Rise Inc. bus at the St. Francis School District’s Early Childhood Vehicle Day May 6. Four-year-old Colin Kohman rode repeatedly with a big smile on his face. Photos by Olivia Alveshere Sully Lance, 5, scrambles down from a wheel loader while his brother Gavin Lance, 7, continues to pretend to drive the vehicle. Evie Ardolino, 6, and her little brother Case, 4, pretend to control a motor grader at Vehicle Day. Greg Friedrich lifts his son Nash, 2, out of an Oak Grove fire truck. From left to right, Sorenson siblings Madelyn, 4; Liam, 4; and Beckham, 2, wear junior firefighter hats given to them by Oak Grove firefighters at Vehicle Day May 6. Janet Sahlstrom makes sure 4-year-old Dexter Munoz has a helmet on before he “hits the road” on her motorcycle.
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Ron Woolcott allows kids to ride the lift intended for people with disabilities on the Rise Inc. bus at the St. Francis School District’s Early Childhood Vehicle Day May 6. Four-year-old Colin Kohman rode repeatedly with a big smile on his face. Photos by Olivia Alveshere