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Bucket list: Hundreds turn out for Cottage Grove Public Works open house

Jillian Nelson, 11, and her grandfather Douglas Marlatt look down during their ride in a cherry picker at the Cottage Grove Public Works Department's open house. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 4
Jack Kaisier, almost 2, inspects the big trucks at the Cottage Grove Public Works Open House on Sept. 21. Jack came with mom Andrea and sister Ella, 4. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 4
Jillian Nelson, 11, and her grandfather Douglas Marlatt ride a cherry picker several stories into the sky. The two were among hundreds who attended the Sept. 21 open house that was hosted by the Cottage Grove Public Works Department. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Gunnar Root, 3, gets a boost up onto a wheel loader while mom Jenny watches. Gunnar got to sit near the controls of the machine while it scooped up piles of sand at the Cottage Grove Public Works Department Open House Sept. 21. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 4 / 4

Once a year, the Cottage Grove Public Works Department turns into a construction zone amusement park, offering their fleet of boom trucks, construction vehicles, snowplows and bulldozers for supervised rides.

Their Sept. 21 open house drew hundreds to their facility along West Point Douglas Road.

Jillian Nelson, 11, crossed off an item on her bucket list when she and her grandfather Douglas Marlatt rode a cherry picker several stories into the sky.

Guests also enjoyed hayrides, hot dogs, inflatables, face painting and a balloon animal artist.

Gunnar Root, 3, got to sit at the controls of a wheel-loader, whose big scoop tore into a big pile of sand.

He dug two scoops, he said.

"He knows the difference between a front-loader, an excavator and a bulldozer," his mother Jenny said. "He corrects me all the time."

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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