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Cowlitz County citizens can get up close and personal with extraordinary vehicles at the Extreme Machines family event Sept. 22.

Now in its third year, Extreme Machines will bring vehicles of all shapes and sizes to the parking fields across Seventh Avenue from the Cowlitz Expo Center. From fire trucks and ambulances, to log loaders and race cars, the event showcases a wide variety of machines.

“I’ve heard from kids that it’s their favorite day of the year; it’s like a big sandbox for kids,” said Karry Williquette, city of Longview recreation coordinator and one of the event organizers. “These are just gigantic Matchbox vehicles.”

The event is presented by the City of Longview Parks and Recreation Department, Five Rivers Construction and P.R. Worth Inc.

Along with the selection of everyday vehicles and equipment, guests will be able to investigate the REMAX hot air balloon, a Coast Guard helicopter and the Optimus Prime semi-truck used in the Transformer movies.

“The one thing I’m very proud of this year is the fact that we have the Coast Guard helicopter coming in representing the military,” Williquette said, adding that this year will also feature the state Department of Natural Resources wildfire unit helicopter. “When I think of extreme machines, there is nothing more appropriate than showcasing a helicopter that’s saving lives or putting out wildfires.”

The Coast Guard will land at the event at 10:30 a.m., followed by the DNR unit at 11 a.m. Attendees can watch the helicopters take off at 1:30 and 2 p.m., respectively.

Attendees can also pick up and drop a log with an excavator or drive a bulldozer at the Extreme Machines interactive displays. Demonstrations for how many of the vehicles operate will also be a highlight of the event, Williquette said.

“The crane operates and takes kids up, and the hot air balloon is tethered, but it will also take kids up about 40 feet,” Williquette said.

The event is educational and eye-opening, Williquette said.

“It’s very educational for everyone to see how the machines work but also to see the possibility of what they might want to do what they grow up,” Williquette said, adding that she has learned a lot about the logging industry since the first Extreme Machines event in 2015.

The first 500 kids to arrive will receive free hardhats. Admission is free for the duration of the display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Longview Parks and Recreation Department will accept donations for its afterschool program scholarship fund at the event.

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