Food Truck Rodeo rides again
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Monday, April 8, 2019
The second annual Spring Affair Food Truck Rodeo has wrangled three times as many food trucks as last year.
The event — set for Saturday at Station Square in downtown Rocky Mount — will host 16 food trucks, four craft breweries and a variety of activities such as face painting and bounce houses, said Anne Craig, director of operations at Station Square.
Station Square owner Ben Braddock said he had been hearing people say there were no events downtown so he asked a friend who had a food truck to help with a rodeo.
"I just gave it to Anne and she figured it out," Braddock said, adding that he had no idea so many people would show up.
The food trucks are coming in from Raleigh, Durham, Garner and other cities.
"It was harder to get trucks last year, but there's been no problem lining up trucks this year," Craig said. "We filled up the slots in a few of weeks."
The rodeo will shut down Nast Street between Church and Main streets allowing a large area for bounce houses and face painting for the kids and arts and craft vendors for the adults — and plenty of food for everyone.
"There's not a lot of redundancy with the food trucks," Braddock said. "They're not all barbecue."
The event last year had five food trucks. The long list of participants this year includes some of North Carolina's top food trucks:
■ Poblanos Tacos from Raleigh.
■ Sweet Escape from Knightdale.
■ Beefy Buns Truck from Raleigh.
■ Bamboo Cookhouse from Durham.
■ BBQ Proper from Raleigh.
■ Qspresso Food Truck from Durham.
■ BuffolinaNC from Willow Spring.
■ Cocoa Forte from Raleigh.
■ RibbCribb Food Truck from Spring Hope.
■ The Cow and The Oak from Raleigh.
■ King's Country Flavor from Raleigh.
■ 815 Gourmet Grill from Garner.
■ Chick-N-Que from Wake County.
■ Jolly's Catering and Events of Raleigh.
■ Lillie Mae's Kitchen from Raleigh.
■ Gorham Cafe from Greenvile.
The food and fun will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday on the Nash Street side of Station Square.
Station Square is a microcosm of downtown, Braddock said. His general theory is that his little corner of downtown can be a pilot for Main Street.
The food truck rodeo is meant to spur other private business owners to set up their own events.
Braddock said the city still hosts a decently attended barbecue festival every year, but he wants to see Spring Affair inspire more private events so it's not just on the city's shoulders.
Private businesses can be more flexible. At Station Square, Bin & Barrel and Trax Coffee Bar have ABC permits for the whole property so they can serve alcohol in the courtyard and parking lots, making planning for events a lot easier.
Last year's rodeo was successful, organizers said, with a couple hundred people expected but ending up with a couple thousand.
The brewers all sold out. They'll be better stocked this time around.
Breweries set to participate are HopFly Brewing, Koi Pond Brewing, BDD Brewing and Rocky Mount Brewery.
Vendors as of Thursday included Paparazzi, Ponderosa Photobooth, Pivot Physical Therapy, 3 Star Kettle Corn, My Kupcake Kreations, Planetary Elixers, Funnel Cake Shack, Carolina Ice, Pee Paws Lemonade, TNK Oils, Sunset Slush Classic Italian ice, Preservation RM, D&J Smashers and Amayas Austism.
Craig said they are still accepting last-minute retail or craft vendors for only a $50 entry fee.
"This isn't a profitable event for us, we're giving back to the community," Craig said.
A sister event, the second annual Twin Counties Sugar Run, is scheduled for 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
The event includes a 5K Run, 1 Mile Fun Run, healthy breakfast and vendors with the latest technology and research in the fight against diabetes. All proceeds will go to benefit patients dealing with diabetes in the Twin Counties.
"We were a little worried last year people who did the run would go home and not come back," Craig said. "But we were pleasantly surprised they all came back."