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Food Truck Festival wheels out best of area food fare in Schenectady

Food Truck Festival wheels out best of area food fare in Schenectady

Food Truck Festival wheels out best of area food fare in Schenectady
Patrons line up at the Electric City Food Truck Festival at the Rivers Casino & Resort Saturday.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Area residents wishing to sample a wide variety of food, from Caribbean fare to crepes, took full advantage of Saturday's Electric City Food Truck Festival that was held in the parking lot outside of the Landing Hotel at River's Casino.

Saturday's event marked the third year that the casino has hosted what has become a day that attracts thousands.

Held in the lot from noon to 6 p.m., the festival drew in steady crowds of friends, families and others, all of whom contributed to winding lines at each food truck present at the festival.

Attendees made use of the large open space, many holding their food while listening to one of the live music acts, which included Tompkins Drive, Ten Most Wanted & "American Idol"’s Madison VanDenburg. Others took a seat to chat with friends and eat or drink a beer under the large tent set up by the casino.

More than a dozen food trucks participated, including Holy Crepe, Mike’s Hot Dogs, Seasons Catering, Rollin’ Smoke Handcrafted BBQ, Kona Ice, Oscar’s Ribeye and Crab, Roy’s Caribbean, Gourmeli’s Taste, DomAdi’s and Greek on The Run. The casino also had its own food truck on site, serving food to go.

Sarah DeThorne, marketing manager for the casino who was on site at the festival, confirmed that the food truck event was something that had blown up over the years, leading to shifts and slight changes in the organization of the festival.

There were about 1,000 guests for the first festival, she said. Last year, there were over 3,000 and the casino anticipated more growth this year, which led to the festival being moved from Erie Canal Bike Path last year, to the parking lot this year.

"We knew we needed more space, more food, more trucks and more entertainment, so we moved it just a few feet away from the river right here into the parking lot. So we could fit more folks and more food," DeThorn said.

The event is so hugely successful that the casino has already solidified next year's date and will be sending out save the dates to all of the truck present on Saturday, as well as trucks that were unable to attend this year.

There were several trucks present on Saturday that were repeat attendees from last year, and many more that were new, all of them from the northeastern New York region. Some came from Utica, Syracuse and even further, DeThorne said.

Bailey Meader and her husband, John Meader,  were waiting in line at the food truck serving crepes on Saturday.  While the crepes were what drew the Schenectady couple, they were also surprised at some of the other trucks present, and planned on trying them.

"I had no idea they would have all of these guys here. We wanted this just this one thing, because it's our favorite, but now I'm second-guessing," Bailey Meader said.

"I'll probably have to buy a second or third meal now," John Meader said.

DeThrone noted that the festival offers more than just lunch or dinner. It's a chance for families to come expand their horizons.

"Everybody loves food trucks, and a reason to get outside. It's the beginning of fall weather, which is a amazing," DeThrone said. "But this property itself too is something really new to Schenectady County."

"With Mohawk Harbor and the casino coming in, we just want to get as many people here to see what we've done as possible, just to introduce them to the space," DeThrone said. "Maybe gambling's not their thing, and that's OK."

"So we want to have some types of family-friendly events, just to introduce people to what we're doing," she said. "And to try new things. You might not try Caribbean food every day, but when it's presented in front of you, you might totally do that."

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