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Shelter Island Trucks and Trades Fair rolls into town: First-time event brings fun to all ages

The Island’s Chamber of Commerce made its first foray into holding a gathering of trucks, heavy equipment and emergency vehicles on Saturday, Sept. 24, and the resulting Trucks and Trades Fair brought smiles all around.

Parents were happy to bring youngsters out to a fresh air activity on the first Saturday of fall, after digging out fleeces and vests to ward off the chill that had suddenly descended on the Island.

From the Shelter Island Fire Department’s ladder truck to Shepherd’s big red waste pumper, the Expo was not only entertaining for the kids, but a showcase for the diversity of businesses on the Island.

In developing the concept for the event, Chamber Board member Alexandra Binder explained, she wanted to give these businesses and trades the exposure that is typically easy for the hospitality industry, hotels and restaurants, to generate during the summer season.

One of the stars of the show. (Credit: Susan Carey Dempsey)

They were all lined up at the Shelter Island School grounds starting at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, from Flash and Ocean Electric companies and a Town dump truck to — probably the most popular vehicle — the police boat.

If the signs on several of the trucks looked particularly snazzy, it was thanks to the handiwork of Denise Fenchel’s Hamptons Signs, who had made the designs. She was also one of the vendors who set up booths to showcase their wares at the event.

Some, like Karen Springer, had exhibited during the summer at the Havens Farmers Market, as did Kim Curko.

“It’s good to have a chance to say hello to friends here and meet people who love my candles,” Ms. Curko said, at her By Way of the Farm Booth. Others, like Dee Moorhead, were new and glad to be discovered by the Islanders visiting the event.

Her Shelter Island necklace, made of mother-of-pearl beads, 1950s-era charms and a Shelter Island scallop shell centerpiece, caught the eyes of Island aficianados, as did the handmade ornaments at Kelsey Lechmanski’s booth.

Visitors could also get a photograph taken at the photo booth operated by Robert Strauss, owner of Shelter Island Party Rentals. When it was time for a snack, there were, of course, trucks, purveying refreshments. The Rolling Islander food truck and Mister Softee ice cream truck were on hand to keep everyone well fed.

If the giant vehicles parked at the fair looked like Christmas morning toys on steroids, there were also miniature versions on hand for little hands to play with, as Kristina and Billy Martin and their almost-three-year-old son, Marcus, discovered.

Marcus Martin found some trucks that were just the right size. (Credit: Susan Carey Dempsey)

Lawn games captivated Claire and Jay Ryan, while their parents Clare Kilfoyle and Sean Ryan enjoyed the crisp fall day. Clustered around the grown-up kids’ favorite, the police boat, were Max Pelletier and P. J. Lechmanski, chatting with Bay Constables Beau Payne and Butch Labrozzi.

Mr. Pelletier and Mr. Lechmanski had their pest control trucks on display, at the ready to deal with intrusions by pesky animals and bugs, respectively.

Noah Reed from the Suffolk County Library System had brought the big Live-brary Van that tours local libraries. Colton Clark, about to turn 8 on Sept. 30, and Noah Lava, 8, discovered that there were video games built into the side of the van, much to the bemusement of parents who thought they’d lured them away from screens for a while.

Noah did take some time to challenge his father, Marc, in a game of Jenga.

There were big trucks whose functions were obvious, like a Coecles Harbor Marina crane to move boats, and a Jernick moving van that looked long enough to transport several households across the country.

For those who don’t want to leave the Island, but might like to relocate their house to another site, Jeremy Brownie was on hand with his house-moving equipment to explain how a building weighing thousands of tons could be lifted and moved.

”Most of the houses here are not so heavy,” he said, explaining that they’re made of wood unlike the concrete and brick houses in the South.

It was a day of fun for the whole family, and its return will be eagerly anticipated in years to come.