Over the past few years, food trucks have become wildly popular; however, the idea of a mobile restaurant providing a quick meal dates back to the days of cowboys right after the Civil War. Chuck Wagons, as they were called, cooked meals for hungry cowboys all across the Wild West. The tradition evolved with technologies and cities. Soldiers in training on Fort Bragg’s ranges call them Gut Trucks, but that’s isn’t the reality of today’s food trucks. Today, modern food trucks are a trendy and exciting way to grab a gourmet meal on the go.
Last year the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival put Fayetteville on the map when it comes to Food Truck Festivals.
“Our organization is ready to do for Fayetteville what Fayetteville is ready for. People compare Fayetteville to Raleigh all the time, and we are like them, so our organization wants to gain recognition for putting on that level of event,” said Carrie King, the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival executive director. “We have the means and last time it was so successful. We’ve created an event that you want to be there for. We’ve made a name. This year we’ve had so many vendor applicants that we have had to turn people away. We’ve had the opportunity to be very selective. People will love it, we have some great trucks participating.”
The event has evolved to more than a food truck festival, this year’s iteration is The Dogwood Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival sponsored by Budlight. King says, “We will also have 10 craft beers. There are some domestics available, but it is mostly craft beers.”
Near the beer on the stage at Festival Park, an interactive DJ will spin music for entertainment.
Craft beers are a perfect accompaniment to all of the fantastic food trucks that are at the center of the festival.
“We want to keep it around 25 to 27 trucks. It keeps the event fair and balanced without any duplication. It is easier to manage and you have to remember that the quality of food that these trucks serve is gourmet,” explained King. “It isn’t a quick process and they can’t serve unlimited quantities like at the Dogwood Festival. We want to keep it around 25 to make it more manageable for everybody — customers and vendors.”
Though the last Food Truck Festival was an incredible success, it was the very first event of its kind that the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival organized, so it was not without its challenges. This festival promises to be even better thanks to experience.
“Oh absolutely, the last festival gave us a lot of insight on how to do things differently. This time we have everything confined to Festival Park. The food trucks are parked abound the perimeter and the beer is in the middle. It is much more user-friendly. We also have a map of all the approved vendors,” King said. “Last time we underestimated the amount of people who would show up. Now we are more prepared with trash removal and the lines are more cohesive, so a line from one truck won’t merge with a line from another.“
Admission is free, but for those unwilling to wait in lines, there is an alternative.
“The trend in the industry is that if the festival starts at 1 p.m.. the trucks can’t sell at all before then. In Durham and Raleigh people may stand in line for hours before it even starts. But we have something that they don’t, the opportunity to be contained. We are all fenced in. So we are selling 100 Dine & Dash tickets. They can get in an hour before the festival starts. This is for the serious foodies,” King explains.
These passes are available for $6 at www.faydogwoodfestival.com.
Besides creating an incredible event for the community, this festival also serves as a fundraiser. Proceeds from the Dine & Dash Passes and from the craft beer will go to the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival. Admission is free. The Dogwood Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival is on July 19 from 1-6 p.m. at Festival Park. Festival Park is located at 225 Ray Ave. For more information, visit www.faydogwoodfestival.com or call 910-323-1934.