It's likely the last party that you and your friends threw did not feature something called the Boogie Monster Truck. Well, that is just the kind of thing Cathy Middleton and her pals Deborah Winn, Cassandra Moreno and Molly Minke will have on hand when they host Trucktober Fest, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Immaculate Heart School, 410 E. Magee Road. The one-day event--running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.--will feature an impressive assortment of vehicles, food, arts, crafts and music. Tickets are free for kids 11 and younger; $6 for 12 and older; families of four get in for a cool $20. For tickets, call 297-6672.

What inspired Trucktober Fest?

About a year ago, we--four moms--were talking about ways to raise money for the (Immaculate Heart) school. We asked, "How do we get the community to know that we exist and at the same time benefit the school?" We started brainstorming all kinds of options, and a mom who supports the Junior League ... mentioned reading something in a newsletter from the East Coast that had caught her eye called Touch a Truck. We just thought it was really a great idea, and we started expanding on it, which became Trucktober Fest, where it wasn't just construction equipment. It was any type of transportation equipment, from race cars to helicopters to emergency vehicles to military vehicles. What we're billing it as is a transportation exploration wrapped in a fall festival.

What are some of the events the festival will feature?

Basically, what we're going to do is have all those transportation vehicles--from the race cars down--for people to be able to hear the engines rev, get in them (and) really explore hands-on. Then we'll have the Boogie Monster Truck, which is like a humongous monster truck that seats 18 people and--I don't know what this means--has 66-inch wheels and a 454 blown engine. Also, for the kids, we're going to have a petting zoo and pumpkin patch, where you can pick your own pumpkins out. We have a jumping castle, a big slide, balloon characters--anything you can think of for little kids--and food galore and a farmers' market.

Sounds extensive. The school was OK with this?

Yes, we presented it to our board in such a way that we told them that this was good for the school, and it establishes good relationships with the community. ... This is really the first time in 75 years that the campus has opened our doors to the community, so it was a really big step. We took a risk, and the sisters (of Immaculate Heart) are taking a risk, and we're working very hard to ensure it goes well because of that trust they placed in us.

And it benefits the school, right?

Right. I think our school needs a major fundraiser for the kids, so this festival is really going for hardbound textbooks for our students.

How did you get all your sponsors on board?

Honestly, one thing we all have talked about is the amazing generosity of this community. We have been phoning people since May, and they have just stepped up. This list (on the fliers) is just the tip of the iceberg, and that's why we feel like this has an amazing foundation for a year-after-year event. ... We feel like somehow, we've hit kids of all ages. The older ones we've talked to ... are all excited about the car show. Then you have the 30- to 40-somethings with the race cars and dragsters, and then all the little kids with all the military vehicles. We're hoping that we really found a connection with everybody, and that makes it enjoyable for the whole entire family. Hey, with four women thinking, you can't go wrong.


This is kind of a funny sidenote, but all of our phones, we've synchronized to (James Bond) 007. It's pretty funny because, it makes you think how it's a network of business and just getting it done.

Definitely. So you're ready to do this all over again next year?

Oh yeah. We'd like to do it the same time of year, keep it like the second weekend in October. ... We're already saying, "Early November, we'll start planning," because we didn't start this one until May, and we've learned a lot. I truly believe this year has been baptism by fire for all of us; none of us have ever done anything of this magnitude with fundraising, and we're learning as we go. ... We're doing our best to make sure everybody's comfortable, and I think we're throwing a great party.