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Touching Moments

Rain doesn’t dampen enthusiasm for one of Liberty Days’ new activities

Kami, 7, and Micah Greene, 2, play in the driver’s seat of the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District truck at the Touch-A-Truck event at Liberty Days Saturday.
Kami, 7, and Micah Greene, 2, play in the driver’s seat of the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District truck at the Touch-A-Truck event at Liberty Days Saturday.

Although rain hindered some activities Saturday afternoon during the Liberty Days events, the community was still able to enjoy the family-orientated festivities.

Getting rained on didn’t stop the Greene family from attending the Touch-A-Truck activity Saturday afternoon. This was the first year for Touch-A-Truck at Liberty Days and the family’s first year at Liberty Days.

Liberty Days is hosted by the Morris Downtown Development Partnership.

“We just moved here last June. We got the brochure in the mail and it was very helpful to see what we could come to,” said Andrea Greene as her children climbed in the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District engine.

“I think it’s great because we live so close to downtown . . . we can be a part of the community, she said. “It’s great fun and we plan on doing more.”

The Greene children climbed into the driver ‘s seat and gripped the steering wheel that was too big for their arm span.

Seven-year-old Kami Greene said she liked the truck, but she didn’t think she could ever drive it.

“The wheel is too big for me!” she said.

The Morris Fire Department brought plastic fire helmets for the kids to keep and Lt. Shane Sater answered questions about the hoses, the Jaws of Life, and being a fireman.

“I got here early, which was probably a good thing, because all of a sudden the rain came and I lost them all,” he said. “Only ones I have now are the ones who don’t care about getting wet.”

The event had about six vehicles for families to see, some they could climb into and take pictures with. Included were a fire truck, Public Works vehicles, an ambulance and even am Illinois National Guard Army Security Vehicle tank.

Kids enjoyed trying to see how many of them could fit in the tank at a time, and the parents enjoyed the tank as much as the kids do, said Staff Sergeant Tom Rubin.

Another new event for Liberty Days, the Crackerbox Derby and Swap Meet, was greatly affected by the rain, but organizer Stan Motter said they will still try again for next year.

The swap meet and derby were to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. Despite the low turnout, Motter said they still raised about $160 with the seven cars that participated. Due to the low numbers, they were unable to hold a competition, but still did testing and tuning all day.

“But they had fun and some people that came with their cars learned some things about the cars,” said Motter.

A couple of people were able to sell their vehicles at the swap meet as well.

“We’ll definitely do it again next year,” he said. “It was a good learning program for us to find out what worked and what didn’t so everyone can prepare for next year.”

The money raised will go toward allowing “Littles” from Big Brothers Big Sisters to race in the annual Grundy County Corn Festival Crackerbox Derby sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 469 and run by Motter.

The “Littles” get to drive their own cars, which are sponsored by local businesses.

Friday and Saturday morning activities were well attended, said Julie Applegate, MDDP executive director. The trolley tours of the historic buildings and houses were well received, as were the kids inflatables and the train ride.

Liberty Days officially wraps Wednesday evening with the Liberty 5K Run/Walk sponsored by the MDDP and the Grundy County Farm Bureau.

About 200 participants have registered so far and registration can still be done the day of the race, from 5 to 7 p.m. for $30. The run begins at 7:30 p.m. The registration tent will be on the corner of Jefferson and Liberty streets.      

This year’s weather looks like it will be much cooler than last year’s more than 100 degrees, said Applegate.

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