My nine-year-old daughter hadn’t even finished sorting and tallying her Halloween candy when I saw word online that the Starbucks holiday cups were out. And then, my next sign: A press release about the 2017 Hess Truck. That makes me feel all the Christmas feels as a mom, because my son has received a slew of them over the years, starting when he was a little guy. Even though he’s a (sometimes) moody 13-year-old, we’ll keep up the tradition. This year’s seems as though it will be a cool addition to his collection—it’s the company’s first-ever dump truck, featuring a hydraulic powered lifting bed, LED lights, a quartet of real-sounding sound effects and a fold-down tailgate with slide-out ramp. The loader has an extending excavator arm and bucket combination and self-propels in different directions via dual-track treads and a 270° rotating cab. It’s the heaviest and most complex Hess Toy Truck ever.
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Also worth noting: Hess now offers a downloadable STEM—that's science, technology, engineering, and math—curriculum with 8 lessons featuring the 2017 truck, which parents can use to help explain core STEM concepts such as lifting forces, leverage, degrees of freedom, and more.
Be aware, trucks aren’t available for purchase at local Hess stations anymore—sales are online only at hesstoytruck.com. It’s $33.99 (including five Energizer batteries), and standard shipping is free. The number of trucks made each year is, according to the company, “a highly guarded secret,” so you might want to order sooner than later (pro tip: don't wait until Black Friday.)
The first Hess toy truck debuted in 1964, when New Jersey native Leon Hess, founder of Hess Corporation, wanted to provide a high-quality affordable toy for families during the holiday season as a goodwill gesture. It cost $1.29. Having come of age during the Great Depression, Hess was insistent that the toy include batteries, a tradition that continues to this day.