54 trucks of all sorts – semi trucks of all makes, models, and years, plus tow trucks, a fire truck, emergency vehicles, a snowplow, and cranes — swarmed the Winona campus at Minnesota State College Southeast on Saturday, August 21, drawing a delighted crowd of 400 for an event titled TruckFest.
“Every kid I’ve ever met has been fascinated by big trucks. At TruckFest, they were able to touch and see and explore a variety of the largest vehicles you’ll see on the road today,” said Tom Gierok, MSC Southeast Truck Driving Instructor.
Every kid I’ve ever met has been fascinated by big trucks.Tom Gierok
The event was hosted by the college at no expense to the companies and truck drivers who brought trucks to the event. Drivers came from as far away as Tomah, WI and Lake City, MN.
“They volunteered their time and expenses because we are all proud of the trucking profession and want everyone to get a chance to see what’s so exciting about trucks and truck driving,” said Tom Gierok.
“Lots of alumni were there. They feel a connection to the college’s truck driving program and support our mission to get more drivers on the road,” said MSC Southeast Admission Representative Chris Cook, who helped at the event.
Both the drivers and their families and the people visiting enjoyed the day equally. “Everyone was just talking trucks, how many miles on the road, what kind of engines,” said Tom Gierok.
With free parking and no charge for admission, families with kids particularly enjoyed TruckFest.
“Families could drop in for just a bit or stay all afternoon,” said Joanne Thompson, the college’s marketing and design director. “We had fun working at the MSC Southeast tent where people stopped by to win prizes, and kids loved the specially designed temporary tattoos we had made for the event.”
“Every half hour or so, we had all of the trucks pull their horns and kids loved that,” said Tom Gierok. “It made a big impact to have so many trucks in one spot — when you walked up it was truck after truck. But the horn pulling was definitely a hit!”
TruckFest is already planned for the third weekend in August 2022 and the organizers are brainstorming ways to make it even bigger and more kid friendly.
“It was a fun, informative, memorable event for kids and adults alike. The truck drivers and families who were there were proud to show off their passion — their livelihood,” said Chris Cook. “With Minnesota State College Southeast being a leader in transportation education in the southeast region, this was the perfect way to connect our community with the opportunities that exist as truck drivers. It was a great day and one that we look forward to hosting year after year!”