Raising a kidstruction fanatic? Do your junior excavators love to watch construction sites? Scream with joy at the site of a dump truck driving by? Beg to stop and watch as you pass sewer repair or home renovations? If yes, then you are in luck. Behold Dozer Day. It is a one weekend a year completely, totally, unrelentingly astounding event for little dirt dudes and divas to get their construction mojo fix. And – get this. They don’t just watch. They drive! And dig! And drill! Aw yeah.

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The Dirt
Held for only two days every year (this year the event is on May 18-19), at an actual quarry, Dozer Day is possibly the most unassuming, realistic, hands-on, interactive, give-the-kiddos-what-they-want event. Plus it’s a fundraiser for many charities serving the youth in our area!  Awe words come to mind. Awestruck. Awesome. Awe-inspiring. Just wait until you see all of the mighty trucks on hand – ready to get to work under the guidance of your little drillers.

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Start off your day with a ride in to the show on the back of an articulated hauler (huge dump truck). Yahoo! After a quick three minute, grin-inducing, bouncy ride on hay bales, you will next choose your digger, driller, roller, excavator, grader, or bulldozer. Line up and wait your turn and then drive/scoop/dig and dump (with the help of a licensed adult operator of course). It is nothing short of r-a-d and your little diggers will love every glorious moment of it.

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When not in line for an excavating experience of a lifetime, swing by some of the many other dirt-loving activities. Climb into a sand pit and grab a shovel, tackle a pile of giant digger-sized tires, or slide down the chute at the gigantic cement piping play area (plenty of packed dirt keep things soft and safe).

Dozer Day is a fundraiser held by the Nutter Foundation each year. Their goal is to support many local charities for mini dozers and use of the quarry is generously donated by Cemex/Fisher. The trucks are all part of their fleet and each operator is given a thorough background check before getting anywhere near your junior rollers.

dozer days digging in the dirt fb pageRoad Work Ahead: What to Know Before You Go
The weather doesn’t always cooperate during the third weekend of May so dress for the elements. The grounds are muddy if it’s raining and dusty if it’s sunny. It’s a quarry after all! Dozer Day runs 11:00 am – 4:00 pm both days and food isn’t a-plenty so bring snacks, lunch and any other munitions you may need to make the day work for your kidstruction workers. Wheeled coolers are not outside reality at these events as many families go all in – staying for all five hours to dig, drill and drive ’em all. If there is suitable food for sale, it will also be a fundraiser like a local PTA or sports team so support ’em and be sure to bring cash as there are no ATMS on site.  Dozer Day is a grand option for birthday parties and new this year are birthday box packages.

If you don’t want to ride the dump trucks into Dozer Day, you can walk. This is also the most stroller friendly option. On the way in or out by foot, you will pass the sponsor booths where numerous carnival style games (with prizes) are in full swing.  Plus each junior construction worker gets a yellow plastic hard hat upon arrival and the sponsor booths give out stickers to adorn the hats. Dig it!

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The quarry is in Vancouver and is about a twenty-minute ride from Portland.  The bulk of little builders and their grown ups get there right at the start of the day; lines are longest both at the main gate and for each digger, excavator and dozer in those first hours. By mid afternoon things thin out a bit so if you can wait – like after lunch for example –  you may appreciate the easier flow.  Parking onsite gets tight. The Nutter Foundation folks recommend public transportation if you can swing it and deliver the goods with a shuttle service to and from the train station and an extra special souvenir for the little tykes who go by train. Taking a train to a big digger construction event? Double whammo of transportation fascination. Who doesn’t dig that?

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Let’s Roll
Dozer Day runs 11:00 am – 4:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and kidstruction workers ages 2-12. Under 2s are free. Tix are on sale now online or at several local businesses like iQ Credit Unions, OnPoint Credit Unions and Riverview Community Banks. It is well worth it to buy in advance, as the onsite purchasing line can be long and slow and ticket prices go up slightly on game day(s). Tickets are only good for one day and are non-refundable so choose wisely or go big and double down for both days, happy trucksters.

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Dozer Day at the Cemex/Fisher Quarry is located at the 192nd Ave and Brady Rd intersection, just off of Highway 14, in Vancouver.  It is very easy to find as it is right off of the 192nd Ave exit. Your little excavators are going to be so thrilled at this incredible hands-on, muddy or dusty adventure. You will ALL feel as though you’ve hit pay dirt!

Have you been to Dozer Day? What was your kiddo’s favorite part?

–Liz Overson

Thank you for the photos Heather and Chris Hall, Laura Sandvig and Dozer Days Facebook page.