Santa Maria celebrated National Public Works Week by holding a hands-on community event Wednesday, where families got to explore vehicles, equipment and interact with city workers. 

Pine Street, which runs between Veterans' Memorial Park and the Veterans Memorial Building, was closed to accommodate vehicles like buses and garbage trucks and construction equipment such as a front-end loader and road grader. 

Family members were able to climb in and tour the equipment and tools with help from city workers. The event was a chance for employees from the city's Public Works, Recreation and Parks and Utilities departments to interact with the community they serve. Also at the event were informational booths, food and a DJ. 

"City staff were excited to see so many community members come out and learn about all the different aspects of what it takes to build and maintain the community infrastructure," said Dennis Smitherman, recreation services manager. "There were a lot of great questions, good music and good food. The youth really enjoyed seeing all the equipment, climbing up in it and honking the very loud horns."

National Public Works Week was first proclaimed by John F. Kennedy as an annual reminder of the many ways public works contribute to our quality of life by maintaining water systems, operating public transportation and conducting waste removal. 

National Public Works Week runs from May 15-21 and is sponsored by the American Public Works Association.

This year's theme, "Ready and Resilient," highlights the ability of public works professionals to both perform their normal duties and also be ready to respond in the case of natural disasters or other emergencies. 

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