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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food Carts Festival

Last weekend I attended the Food Cart Festival at the Columbus Commons with Natalia of We Are Glitterati. It was the busiest I've seen Downtown with the exception of Red, White, and Boom. This is not necessarily a good thing.

The concept is awesome. A bunch of food trucks (not the boring gyro/brat types) all in one area with beer, live music, and various booths of community minded businesses. Like a smaller Comfest, really.

Looks good on paper, not so much in execution.

The event was to last from 6pm - 10pm. More than half the food trucks were closed due to running out of food by 8pm. The lines for food easily lasted an hour. Herds of people were tripping over each other to shuffle anywhere as about half the Commons was cut off from the event by barricades (no doubt because of the alcohol).

Much like Comfest, the bloat of too many people is what hurt this festival.

Because so many of the food trucks closed early, the ones that remained open saw even longer lines. Many people were leaving without getting anything to eat because they refused to stand in line for an hour or more.

Ray Ray's Hog Pit was advertised for the event but wasn't there; after talking to one of the Ray Ray's guys (not Jaimie, the owner), I was informed that Ray Ray's never agreed to be there at all and wasn't even contacted. Interesting.

For the live music, there seemed to be a preponderance of hip hop (no issues with that) but the closing band was a cover band. A pretty good and lively cover band, but still. I will hand it to the cover band though; they got white people to do the "drunk white person dance," you know the one; girls in peasant skirts swaying jarringly with their arms in the air.

Jeni's Ice Cream truck was the only one we visited as it had the smallest line (not because no one was buying Jeni's, but because it was moving the fastest). I tried the Goat Cheese and Cherry for the first time and it was divine. It tasted like a combination of cherry cheesecake and a girl in her early twenties. Delicious.

I'm not sure what to suggest to improve the festival for next year. I like the idea of a food truck festival as the food trucks in the town are pretty amazing. It's good for all of these small business owners, it's good for downtown (Dirty Frank's and Little Palace were packed), and it's good for people to just get out of the house and do interact with other people. But all of this is limited when you can't get the food you came to get, and you can't move or talk due to the oppressively large crowd. How do you fix that?

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