Friends plan a family friendly truck event

Vendors sought for inaugural event

BLANDFORD-Two friends who share the same ideals are eager to present the first “Touch-A-Truck” event at the Blandford Fairgrounds on July 20.

“It’s a free family fun day,” said Dave Chaffee, a longtime resident who is a truck driver for Northeast Paving in Westfield. “Kids love trucks and we also hope that local business owners will want to spotlight their own trucks at the event.”

Matt Ripley and Dave Chaffee are hosting a Touch-A-Truck event at the Blandford Fairgrounds. Businesses and individuals are welcome to showcase their unique vehicles at the event.

Since Chaffee was a toddler, he has been surrounded by trucks.

“Trucking is in my blood,” said Chaffee, noting one of his fond memories was being on a snowmobile with his dad when he was 1-year-old. “I was raised around all kinds of motors and trucks.”

Matt Ripley, who serves as executive vice president of the Union Agricultural & Horticulture Society which oversees the Blandford Fair every Labor Day weekend, is also eager to share his enthusiasm about trucks with area residents. Ripley, a master electrician with Elm Electrical in Westfield and a contractor for Northeast Paving, also serves as Granville’s fire chief.

“I was raised on a farm,” said Ripley, whose family runs the Maple Corner Farm in Granville. “I’ve driven trucks and tractors most of my life.”

Both men are bullish that area residents – especially families – will want to visit the fairgrounds and relish the chance to explore the many vehicles that will be on display from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“We are currently looking for heavy trucks, equipment, antique vehicles, emergency vehicles, or unique vehicles to display at the event,” said Ripley, adding there is no cost to participate.

For individuals or businesses wishing to display a vehicle, send an email to Ripley at [email protected].

The day’s highlights include  a “kiddy pedal tractor pull” at 11 a.m. which features four classes of youngsters including ages 6 and younger as well as those up to age 14. Prizes will be awarded to all participants and ribbons will also be given to those who finish first, second and third in their respective class.

“We have pedal tractors available and everyone starts with no weight and then gradually steel plates are added to see who can pull the most weight in their class,” said Ripley.

Another highlight of the day is a fireman’s muster – aimed at fire and rescue services – starting at 1 p.m., coordinated by Ed Harvey of the Blandford Fire Department.

“We welcome other fire departments to participate in the muster,” said Ripley, noting the categories include a “midnight alarm” scenario, a “fast attack” drill, a tug-of-war pitting two teams against each other, an obstacle course and a bucket brigade.

“Teams of firefighters should include three members, an operational fire truck and your chief’s permission,” said Ripley.

Both men are also eager to showcase the trucks they drive every day for their respective employers. Among the vehicles they will be showcasing include a Northeast Paving tack truck that hauls liquid asphalt, as well as a dump truck and service truck.

“Touch-A-Truck is important to us to remind people about the small town fairgrounds in our area,” said Ripley.

Chaffee echoed those sentiments.

“Living in Blandford, the Blandford Fair has been an integral part of my life,” said Chaffee. “I wanted to get involved as a volunteer with the society to share ideas of how we can market the fairgrounds throughout the year.”

Throughout the day, there will also be “fair food” available including hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, soda, water, doughnuts and coffee.

“Hosting this event is our way to give back to the community that supports the fairgrounds,” said Chaffee. 

Ripley concurred.

“Through collaboration with others, we can showcase the property more during the off-season with special events like this,” said Ripley.

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