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Tarpon holds open house, Touch-a-Truck

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Published:   |   Updated: May 2, 2013 at 02:31 PM
TARPON SPRINGS -

Blue skies and sunshine helped attract residents of all ages to Saturday's Tarpon Springs Open House and Touch-a-Truck Day.

The event offered a mix of attractions, combining Touch-a-Truck with the open house, a special Arbor Day tree giveaway and the inaugural musical performance of the 12-piece Tarpon Springs Rhythm Kings.

City departments packed most of Lemon Street, between Safford and Tarpon avenues, with large vehicles. Families went from vehicle to vehicle with children gawking up, climbing inside and learning about each vehicle's capabilities.

“It's fun to come out with all the kids and put smiles on their faces,” said Austin Angle, a Palm Harbor University High School senior and member of the North Pinellas Fire Explorer Post 969. Angle and other Explorer volunteers teamed with Tarpon Springs firefighters to give tours of one of the city's fire engines.

Another popular stop was a police department squad car, armored SWAT team vehicle and Mobile Command Unit vehicle. Police Chief Robert Kochen weaved throughout the crowd aboard the department's Segway two-wheel personal transporter while Cpl. Scott Brockew, a detective and bomb technician, demonstrated a table full of equipment and gear.

The rest of Saturday's attractions set up just off Lemon Street, in the Tarpon Springs Public Library front courtyard. City departments, like public works and recreation, set up booths or trailers displaying information explaining their day-to-day operations and upcoming projects or events. Other activities for children included a balloon artist and a Lego building contest.

By midafternoon the event was provided a soundtrack of live jazz and dance music from the 1920s and 1930s. The Tarpon Springs Rhythm Kings is a 12-piece band with two vocalists created in the past year in a partnership with the Cultural and Civic Services Department.

Audience members gathered around as the band set up in the library entryway and performed for the first time in a public setting. The Rhythm Kings have their first full concert and dance scheduled for June 13 at the Heritage Museum.

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