The third annual Wheels that Move the World Exhibit kicked off at the Martin and Frances Lehnis Railroad museum with hundreds of children braving the unseasonably cold weather Friday morning.
As part of the event, first responders, city workers and volunteers let children get a first-hand look at some of the equipment used to literally construct and maintain the community around them offering them for hands-on lessons in science and technology.
“I came out here so he could look at the trucks and play with everything,” said xxx, who took his grandson Rylee Blanton to Friday’s kickoff. “His dad works for the city and he wanted to come down, ride the train, look at the train set – all of that. It gives them something to do, something to look. They can see these things work on a daily basis.”
Throughout Friday and Saturday area kids marched from featured vehicle to featured vehicle with guides showing them the purpose and inner mechanics of each of the dozens of vehicles on lone. Whether operating the controls of a Brownwood city crane truck or blaring the sirens of a Brownwood Police Department Cruiser, each vehicle had its own unique lesson to teach.
“I’m excited for the turnout. So far it has been wonderful. Last year, it took a while for people to warm up and come out,” Martin and Frances Lehnis Railroad Museum Curator Crystal Stanley said. “It took until noon for people to show up. [This year] It was nice for people to show up in hoards, groups of 10 and 14 already here at 10 a.m. It was great. My main worry was the rain and we had been watching the weather for two weeks. For while it said it was going to rain, but it kept moving. It was going to be cold, but these kids are determined and the cold hasn’t hurt anyone.”
Entering her second year overseeing Wheels that Move the World, Stanley said this year was much easier to plan and coordinate than years past. Operating on a firm foundation established in 2017, and refined in 2018, she feels the exhibit has become a community draw because of its universally applicable.
“Last year, I really relied on what happened the year before and worked off that,” Stanley said. “I had only been here 6 months at that time so I hadn’t made the contacts I have now. We started earlier this year and really planned ahead and reached out to those who had been here the last two years and said ‘hey, can we count on you again?’ We started working on some new people like Kohler.”
With two years of successful exhibits now under her belt, Stanley feels Wheels that Move the World will continue to be a tradition for years to come. She was also thankful to the community of volunteers who make each year’s exhibit possible.
“It’s wonderful. I always stay positive and am excited for the turnout. Last year, we had rain for about 20 minutes,” Stanley said. “People just came inside the museum, waited for it to stop and went back outside to enjoy themselves. We’re local. We have local businesses out there and people coming in and learning about their community. That’s what makes it successful.”