12 Food TruckGet ready, Hope Mills. The food trucks are coming back. Beginning Thursday, April 4, and continuing through November, the food trucks will be back the first Thursday of each month. The event will again be held in the rear parking lot of Hope Mills Town Hall, 5770 Rockfish Rd.

Chancer McLaughlin, development and planning administrator for the town of Hope Mills, said the setup will be basically the same as last year, with each of the events starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m.

A live DJ will provide music for the first rodeo. When summer arrives, McLaughlin said the town will offer live bands.

There will also be activities for children, including a bouncy house and a variety of free games. In addition, the town will have vendors on hand who will share information with the community about their various services.

Among the vendors lined up for the first rodeo in April are the Hope Mills Community Emergency Response Team, iSign sign language and The CARE Clinic.

“The vendors provide a service to the community,” McLaughlin said. “We are giving them the ability to share awareness about their program and the service they offer in the community.’’

At all of the food truck rodeos, the town encourages people to bring nonperishable food items to donate to the ALMSHOUSE, a Hope Mills-based nonprofit that focuses on helping families get back on their feet and become selfsufficient, and its Kid’s Assistance Program.

“We always do the ALMSHOUSE food drive,’’ McLaughlin said.

Among the scheduled food trucks for the first event are A Catered Affair by Chef Glenn, Big T’s Snow on the Go, California Taco Truck, Kona Ice and Nancy Manby’s Famous Food Truck.

McLaughlin said he strives at each food truck rodeo to have a variety of trucks so that no two trucks are competing directly with each other with the same food or specialty offerings.

McLaughlin said the food truck events took a serious hit from bad weather last year as he had to cancel or postpone the monthly gatherings four times as two hurricanes hit Hope Mills in the fall.

He tries to watch the weather as closely as possible and call them off or reschedule them at least a week in advance if needed.

He said the biggest thing he learned from last year’s rodeos is that the people of Hope Mills love the food trucks, and the truck owners are appreciative. “We charge no fees for food trucks,’’ he said. “The main goal is we are trying to support the food truck community.’’

He said the people appreciate the events because it gives them a break from preparing meals at home on a week night. “It’s a relaxing event for a school night,’’ McLaughlin said. “We provide the  a backdrop.’’

McLaughlin said he gets his list of food trucks from the trucks that have been approved by the county health department. “I switch the trucks out every month, and we book about a month in advance,’’ he said. “We try to make sure we have at least six trucks for a variety.’’

McLaughlin can be reached at 919-478-9023 or cmclaughlin@townofhopemills.com with questions about the rodeos or how to get a food truck involved.

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