Hungry Washington residents have been lining up at Eastside Park on Tuesday evenings for a bite to eat from several local food vendors. The Washington Parks and Recreation Department has started what they are calling Food Truck Tuesdays, and the excitement is just beginning.
The opening week for the event was held on July 9 with several food vendors from the area participating, including Scoops Ice Cream, Big Al’s Smokin’ BBQ, Old Canoe Sliders, Jose’s Burritos, Food Frogger and KK Concessions.
Allen Brown, owner of Big Al’s BBQ, thought that the opening event was “overwhelmingly successful.”
“I ran out of food after only one hour,” Brown said. “The feedback we got was good except that all the lines were very long. We just weren’t expecting that turnout.”
The idea for the event came from the Hometown Collaboration Initiative where the organization had been considering new events to bring to the community. After discussing the possibility of a food truck event at the park, Steve Belcher went to the Washington Parks and Recreation Department to talk logistics.
From there, the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and TOC Media Direct/WWBL were brought on board to help with marketing and sponsors.
“We just wanted a fun summer activity for families to enjoy,” said Belcher. “The park is so nice, and there’s plenty of things for the kids to do, lots of spots to sit and eat.”
The plan is to have a different theme each week. Last week, the theme was Hawaii Beach Party. Vendors prepared certain foods to comply with the theme. Scoops had a pineapple ice cream and Old Canoe added pineapple slices to their sliders.
The event isn’t just food-focused, however. Entertainment is provided on the bandstand, and last week there were contests, including a best-dressed Hawaiian contest, a limbo contest and a hula contest. Winners received a beach bag filled with beach items like towels, inflatables and sunglasses.
On August 20, there will be a worship theme with praise band music, and children’s Bibles will be given out to those who attend.
Even though the feedback has been generally positive, according to Belcher and Allen, there is already much to consider in terms of improving and what the future may hold for Food Truck Tuesdays.
“Next year, we want to try to start earlier, maybe go from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” said Belcher. “And we are always looking to increase the number of vendors.”
The plan to start earlier in the day has already been made as well.
“This week, we’re starting at 5 p.m. instead of 6,” said Allen. “We’re also going to move closer to the grass, so customers are more in the shade and can be closer to the music. We want to improve each week and get it down to a science so that next year will be easy.”
Tonight at the park, Gauge Keiller will be taking the stage to sing for the Dancing with the Stars-themed dance contest that will accompany eight food vendors. If it rains, however, the event will be canceled.
“It kind of started with the question ‘What would make Washington a better place?’ and then we followed through with the idea,” said Belcher. “It really has been a great event. I hope that the public continues to support it.”