While nobody could drive or operate the vehicles, luckily for the kids, and perhaps not so lucky for the parents, the horns still worked at Saturday’s Orangetown Highway Department Open House.
And so as children packed the grounds of the Orangetown Highway Department, located on Route 303 in Orangeburg, they took turns climbing into the 15-plus vehicles on display, playing with the steering wheel and, of course, honking the horn. Saturday’s was the 16th annual open house hosted by the highway department.
“It’s basically to let the public and all of our taxpayers know how much equipment we have, the kind of work that we do and how well our people take care of them,” said Orangetown Highway Superintendent James Dean. “There’s a big investment in all this machinery that’s out here, but without it we’d never get the job done. We want them to understand that the employees here take very good care of them and we all appreciate having it. We like to share it with them once a year.”
By 9:30 a.m. there was already a line forming with kids and parents eager for the event to start at 10. The first 50 kids received t-shirts, and there were also toy hard hats, as well as food and drinks for the guests. Keep Rockland Beautiful was on hand, and since it’s one of the few Saturdays during the year the highway department is open, Dean said they also give out recycling bins to residents who stop by.
But the event is mostly for the kids, Dean said.
“We open it up for them to come in, and they can climb on the vehicles,” he said. “The only thing we ask is the parents don’t get mad at us if they come home with a little bit of grease because that’s what vehicles are about, although you can see we do a really good job of cleaning them up.”