First food truck jamboree attracts 2,000
Arts and Heritage Foundation promises to do it again
Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014 06:00 am
A great, big community picnic – that’s how Shari Strachan with the Musée Héritage Museum describes the wildly successful food truck jamboree Friday, organized by the Arts and Heritage Foundation.
More than 2,300 people showed up at St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, to enjoy a summer meal courtesy of 11 food trucks, borrowing from Asian, Middle Eastern and North American comfort food menues.
That’s more than double the attendance numbers originally expected, said Strachan. At best, museum staff thought about 1,000 residents would show up.
“It was great. It was like a big old-fashioned picnic. It was very relaxed and you heard a lot of ‘Oh, I have not seen you in ages,’ ” she said. “It was a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and it was a lot of fun.”
The grain elevators continue to attract strong attendance numbers, but the museum had been looking at new ways to attract people who may have not visited the site before, said Strachan.
Food trucks, already popular in Edmonton, seemed like a logical option. And the grain elevator site provided plenty of space to walk around, as well as picnic tables and interesting scenery, she said.
So they brought in the 11 trucks from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., she said.
“This was our first try at it to see if there was interest and to see if people wanted this type of event and it was overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “I had a lot of comments from people saying it’s a really good thing that this site was saved and that it’s here and that we have access to it.”
The event was also surprisingly successful for many of the food truck vendors who had never been to St. Albert.
Levi Biddlecomb, chef and owner of Attila the Hungry, a food truck selling North American comfort food with an Asian twist, said he would have had a record day for sales, had he not run out of food after a couple of hours.
But that only speaks for the day’s success, he said, adding that the event was better than a lot of others he attended in Edmonton.
Arts and Heritage had cooked up a good mixture of vendors, mixing veteran and new trucks and offering a variety of foods, he said. He has already talked to the organizers about attending any future events they may hold at the park, he said.
“The beer gardens were a little bit small but that’s just because nobody anticipated the amount of people that showed up,” he said. “But it’s in a great location, there was lots of seating, the grain elevators are there, and there’s nice scenery.”
Marc DeRome, owner of The Crooked Fork, said his truck can hold up to 600 items so he wasn’t nervous about running out of food. But he was surprised at the number of attendees as well.
“It was great, very well organized,” he said. “It was very busy and fun.”
Other food truck owners, such as St. Albert’s Dedo’s Food Truck and Drift Food Truck in Edmonton, also said they’d like to return.
Strachan said the grain elevator park is now closed for the season, except for weddings and special events.
But the food trucks will return sometime next year, she said.
“We had people request that we do it every Friday night or twice the summer and we’ll definitely make it an annual event,” she said. “It also depends on the availability of the trucks, but we will definitely do it again.”