A live band plays while strangers sit together at large tables under a tent and discuss the various foods they bought, because the best way to make new friends is to bond over great food. There are several barbeque trucks, deep fried pickles, cupcakes, French fries, grilled cheese, gourmet sliders, Italian and all freshly prepared in the back of a small school bus converted into a kitchen on wheels.
On the first Sunday of each month from June to October the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce organizes a food truck festival in a small lot in the middle of town. Most of the food trucks and vendors present at the festival are local catering companies and small businesses from the Hudson Valley area. Along with the classic food trucks there are also tents and tables where small businesses and organizations set up to promote themselves. It is similar to a small street fair condensed into a parking lot. Even a few local farms came and set up tables to sell their fresh produce.
“We wanted to bring the community together for a nice neighborhood event,” said Christina from the Chamber of Commerce when asked about why they decided to hold this event.
The Chamber of Commerce holds numerous events like this throughout the year to bring the town together. They were looking for something new that would attract everyone and what better way to do so than with food. This is the first year they held the food truck festivals but Christina confirmed they plan to do it again next year considering it was such a hit.
The food truck festival was not heavily advertised outside the town of Hyde Park. Majority of their advertising was done through flyers around town as well as posts on the town website and the Chamber Facebook page. Most of the people present at the festival are local Hyde Park residents that came by for lunch with their families on the beautiful afternoon.
They were not trying to reach out to a large crowd outside the community. However this is something worth making a little trip for on a nice Sunday afternoon for others in the area, most specifically a great place for Marist students to grab some lunch on a Sunday afternoon.
Even though advertising for the event was minimal some lucky Marist students knew about it from word of mouth. After a few months of holding the event enough people had gone and told their friends and many students were able to make their way over for some great food. Alex Tom, a Marist senior, heard about this from a friend who had gone last month.
“I’m glad I heard about it from friends because it was a lot of fun and the food was amazing. I had a giant turkey leg and deep fried pickles. I would definitely recommend others to come check it out next time,” said Tom.
Alex Graham, another Marist senior, also found out about the event from a friend. “I saw a picture on instrgam that a friend posted last time it was here and asked about it because the food looked amazing,” said Graham. Graham got a grilled cheese with pulled pork and described it as “everything she ever wanted in a food.” Everyone swapped their opinions on what they ate and made recommendations on what others should try next.
Some of the food trucks there are even award winners and featured in well known cooking competitions. The gourmet sliders truck, Slidin’ Dirty, was featured on a Live with Kelly and Michael on one of their cooking contests as well as other news stations. The 2013 winners of the K104 Cupcake Wars, Forget Me Not Cupcakes, were also there selling their treats. Aside from selling at events like the food truck festival, local farmers markets and local fairs these food trucks also serve as caterers for various events.
The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce hosts various events for the town throughout the year that are also worth making the short drive for. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from college life and check out small town events to make you feel a little more at home.