Staff Report

Seeing kids coming back each year and running straight to their favorite truck, SWAT vehicle or tractor is one of the highlights of the annual SYV Touch a Truck benefit.

The event, organized by Lisa Petersen Kekuewa, raises money for the Bethania Preschool and after-school programs. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in the Bethania Lutheran Church parking lot.

“It’s such a thrill for these kids to see their favorite vehicles in person and be allowed to crawl all over them. We really appreciate all the people that bring these vehicles and allow them to be seen up close. It’s such a positive event and I get people all year asking me about the next one,” Kekuewa said with a laugh.

The family-friendly event provides a chance for kids, and kids at heart, to climb on, climb into, honk horns and turn on sirens of all kinds of vehicles. The display includes heavy equipment such as excavators, backhoes and farm tractors.

The first hour is best for kids who are sensitive to loud noises, because there will be no horns or sirens during that period, Kekuewa added.

Among the biggest hits each are the emergency vehicles, including a fire truck from the Solvang station of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, a police car from the California Highway Patrol, and a sheriff’s motorcycle and SWAT vehicle.

There will also be food provided by Tower Pizza, Face Painting by Crystal, bounce houses by M&J Jumpers, live music, a petting zoo, arts and craft booth, and Safety Day activities, including low-cost bike helmets provided by Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Trauma Services.

“The hospital is amazing for bringing these brand new helmets and selling them for $10 so kids of all backgrounds can have head protection. They sold out last year and I know they will be bringing more this year,” Kekuewa said.

To participate or help sponsor the event, or to get more information, send email to