Experience the excitement of sitting inside a real fire truck at Sesame Classic

The 22nd annual Sesame Classic is ready to roll, as the smiles from this 2019 file photo show. The big day is just around the corner (Sunday, May 15, 2022) and helping to get things ready is the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company and its chief, Frank Farry (back row, second from left). Also on hand to help display the new START/FINISH banner are (front row, from left): Luciana Monteleone and Lila Monteleone of Levittown; (back row, from left): Dixie Rhodes of Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club, Farry, Kurt Geislhart, Larry Harvey. The truck driver goes by the name of Elmo.
       When that big red truck with the lights flashing and sirens blaring goes roaring down your street, kids’ eyes grow wide.
      And for good reason. In many instances, brave firefighters are on their way to face challenging adversity and with that comes an element of excitement.
      What’s it like sitting at the wheel of one these loud, giant machines?
      Well, kids ages 2 to 92 will get just such a chance to find out if they attend the 22nd annual Kiwanis-Herald Sesame Place Classic on Sunday, May 15. Races include a 5K, 1-miler and Sesame Sprint for young children.
      The fine folks at the Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company are once again bringing Truck 21 along with a full crew to the big race.
      Besides sitting in the driver’s seat, those in attendance also will get a chance to learn about fire safety, both in the home and the workplace.
      Chief Frank Farry and the boys will be on hand to teach you a thing or two about what it takes to prevent dangerous fires.
      And there’s a good chance one of your favorite Sesame characters will be on hand to share in the fun.
      “At least once in a lifetime youngsters will have aspirations of being a firefighter,’’ said Levittown-Bristol Kiwanis Club member Dixie Rhodes. “Here’s the perfect time for them to sit in a fire truck, talk to a real hero and spend some time with a Sesame friend while learning about fire safety.’’
       Farry, whose fire truck ladder holds up the Classic START/FINISH banner as well as the American flag at the race site, saw how many people took advantage of this opportunity during the last (pre-pandemic) event back in 2019.
      “The Classic is always a great event, it’s always one of the best in Bucks County and it raises money for a good cause (the Dick Dougherty Honorarium Awards),’’ said Farry at the time. “For the fire company, it provides us an opportunity to be out in the community, teach a little fire safety, provide some information to the families which are here – and they get a chance to get their picture with their children on the fire truck.’’
      It should be noted that there’s more to fire safety at home than just having smoke detectors that work. And you’re never too young to learn about ways to prevent fires from happening.
      “Learning about fire safety is an important thing,’’ Farry noted, “because who knows if one of those tips we give that day, some of the information we give out ultimately makes a difference between someone’s house catching on fire or somebody getting hurt or not getting hurt.’’
      As noted, the Classic’s iconic banner once again will be mounted on Truck 21’s ladder and the whole scene makes for a memorable spectacle.
      “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to show off the truck,’’ Farry said. “Teach people about the equipment and fire safety.’’
      Kiwanis Club’s Jill Saul said the fire truck experience just adds to the excitement of the day.
      “The kids are thrilled to get a look at this fabulous truck up close,’’ she said, “and often get to meet the firemen and sit in the truck. Imagine their delight when they are joined by Sesame characters. These are some of the many memorable moments families get to share at the Classic.’’
      Added Rhodes: “Even adults recall that memory of their youth, wanting to speed down the highway, sirens blaring, with the thought of saving someone’s life. Here’s a great opportunity to ‘relive’ that dream.’’
      Sesame Place’s P.J. Schweizer coordinates the Sesame characters appearances and looks forward to seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces when the fire truck arrives and is made accessible.
      “We’re excited to be hosting the race and whenever someone from the community comes it increases the sense of involvement,’’ Schweizer said.
“Since we’re all about kids and we’re about educating kids, when they see something like a fire truck, it makes them interested in fire safety and what firemen do everyday. I think it makes them more responsible citizens in general.’’
      For more information about the event, visit www.sesameplaceclassic5k.com. All registered runners will receive a free, one-day ticket to Sesame Place good for admission through mid-June.
      >More Boston excellence
      Here are a few additions to the times of Bucks County runners we posted of last week’s Boston Marathon:
      Jamie Gray, 2:52.15; Lori Wade, 3:28.20; Gwen Kranzle, 3:33.23.
      Also, Timothy Bulat (2:57.45) checked in with some comments about his experience and Boston’s return to its traditional date in April.
      “It was great to run on Patriots’ Day,’’ Bulat wrote in an email. “This was my second time running Boston but the first time was last fall (in October due to pandemic postponement). You could feel the difference from a denser mass of runners at the start to the volume and depth of the crowds along the course. A great day to share with so many strong Bucks County runners.’’
      Congratulations once again to all the fine performances by Bucks County runners.
      Race calendar
      10th annual Brad Fox 5K, 9 a.m., Warminster. Contact www.runsignup.com
      Run, Walk, Roll 5K, 10 a.m., Tyler State Park, Richboro. Contact www.biapa.org

Broad Street Run 10-Miler, 8 a.m., Philadelphia. Contact www.broadstreetrun.com

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Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.