Food Truck Festivals: A How To Guide

Food truck festivals are an amazing way to get to enjoy some great local food. There is something strangely awesome about food that is prepared and served out of the back of a truck. Nearly any foodie will get excited at the sight of a new food truck they haven’t tried. Interestingly in the early days of food trucks were referred to as “Roach Coaches” and sold cheap, quick, greasy blue collar fare. Today with the improvements to technology it’s completely different. Trucks can go where the people are and more importantly people can find where the trucks are. Trucks can easily advertise and send out their location on social media for their fans to find. If interested here is an article about the hisotry of food trucks (Credit Touchbistro) which goes into more detail.

As a fun weeknight activity we hit up a local food truck festival at a park. This is a great acitvity for a change of pace. You get a meal or two(or three or four). Get to get outside and walk around, meet some people, and usually there is some form of entertainment(in this case music). While fun food truck festivals can be overwhelming, with so many choices, how do you maximize your efforts to get the most out of it? While also not breaking the bank and stuffing yourself silly.

Step 1: Find Food Truck Festivals

A quick google search should find you options during the warmer months. I know in the New England area there are several every week from May to October. There are usually a couple different types. There are the more regular events where every week the same trucks go to the same place. The daily gatherings in the city where the same trucks go to the catch the lunch rush I wouldn’t count. Just isn’t quite the same. I’ve seen them at parks, zoos, town commons, they could be at any number of locations. Try to find one in a convenient location and make sure to factor in the parking situation.

A Rhode Island Hot Weiner (an amazing unique hot dog) and a bread cone stuffed with Caprese
A Rhode Island Hot Weiner and a bread cone stuffed with Caprese

Step 2: Scout Out The Location

Sausage and pepper sub and 2 beers for sharing.
Sharing a suasage and pepper sub

Now this is the most important step. Walk the entirety of the festival. Make a mental note(or a physical/digital note if you like) of what really catches your eye. For me I am usually looking for something unique, something I couldn’t easily make at home or get anytime I wanted. Another thing to note is prices, some trucks may have higher priced larger meals others may have more snacky appetizer like foods. The ultimate goal is to try as much as you can without going broke and or getting sick from over indulgence.

Step 3: Develop a Plan

Time to put together a plan. This is how I would prioritize.

  1. Absolute must haves- this is the thing or things that caught your eye, could be something unique, could be a favorite comfort food. In this case don’t really worry about money or how large the fare is. Get what you want. Try to avoid sweets/desserts and keep them last.
  2. Now you factor in size and cost. You got your first choice, now it’s about trying as much as you can. Look for smaller, cheaper foods. Once you get full(or broke) this won’t be any fun. If you are with a group, share. With the sharing/splitting method you could probably try everything or most everything. Again leave desserts for last.
  3. Dessert time, this is the hardest part in my opinion. Usually I want every sweet treat on the planet. 99% of the time, gorging yourself on cookies and ice cream is not going to end well. So I would treat desserts like the must have. Find that one sweet treat you need to try and run with it. Sharing works here too, but I usually don’t like sharing my sweets.
  4. Another nice way to enjoy some extras is to take a couple items to go, maybe for lunch the next day or a late night snack. This way you can save some space but still get to try a few more things.
A Beef Empenda snack
Beef Empenada for Sharing
Pork Bahn Mi sandwich in a cup holder to take to-go
Pork Banh Mi in a cupholder to go
PB & J and Oreo Mini Donuts
Mini Donuts(PB & J and Oreo). These were AMAZING!

Step 4: Enjoy the sights and sounds

If you are like me, you love people watching. It is fantasic. Sometimes you are entertained, a lot of times you can learn something, overall it helps the experience. As a cynical, partly awful human, I do make fun of people (also myself, no one is safe from my sarcasm). So sorry. The point here is to enjoy yourself. Talk to people about their favorite trucks, enjoy the music (there is usually music), laugh with your friends about how one of you ate the equivalent of 4 dinners. Don’t rush, make the most of the event.

Step 5: Food Coma

Now it’s time to go home and fall asleep instantly. This is an important step, if you don’t go into a food coma the second you get home you have completely failed. You will have to do this all over again and make sure you get this right.


Food truck festivals are an amazing way to try different foods or just get a good variety. It’s basically a tapas kind of scavenger hunt. I don’t think I will ever not get excited about a food truck and I’m okay with that. Do you love food trucks? What are your favorite trucks/food truck foods?

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