Food Truck Festival draws crowd with eccentric eats

Geneseo’s first annual Food Truck Festival took place on Wednesday Oct. 1 and drew huge crowds of students, faculty and staff to the College Green looking to sample these unique treats. Nine food trucks were present at the festival, selling a variety of food including Asian cuisine, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and smoothies. Tom Wahl’s cooked up cheeseburgers on an open grill and sold them with signature root beer. Bento Box made Thai fried rice to order and Smoothies Plus blended fresh fruit right in the back of their truck.

“Each of the trucks brings a whole other menu,” executive chef of Campus Auxiliary Services Jonna Anne said.

CAS is excited to bring this “food truck culture” to campus and was partially inspired by its own food truck, the Chowhound.

“We were so excited to bring [Chowhound] to campus a few years ago … but when you have a gathering of them it puts them in a whole new light,” CAS Marketing Coordinator Rebecca Stewart said.

CAS sent information to food trucks around western New York, inviting them to apply to attend this festival. All trucks had to do was meet health and safety regulations––the myriad food choices was a pure coincidence.

“We try to always share different dining experiences in whatever we do and this was just another way to do that,” Stewart said.

Trucks came from all over western New York, including some from Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. The Chowhound and Cheesed and Confused dually represented Geneseo as the two local trucks in attendance.

The idea was inspired by “food truck rodeos” that happen in towns across the state, particularly Rochester and Avon, New York.

“Food trucks are all over,” Anne said. “Food trucks are so popular and cool and ‘the thing to do.’ We wanted to have something fun.”

The festival was attended by a dense crowd of all ages, some waiting in lines upward of 50 ft. long.

“We’re trying to make this a community event with faculty, staff, students––anyone from the community,” Anne said.

The festival also included free sunglasses, Frisbees and picnic tables set up on the College Green. These were given out to encourage students to really enjoy themselves and make the event feel like a true fair or festival. The goal was for students to spend time eating and having fun, instead of grabbing their food and leaving.

Anne and Stewart see the event expanding in the future: bringing in more trucks, more students and even a wider variety of entertainment options.

Delicious food, however, was not the only perk of this event. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and since the event took place on the first day, CAS wanted to do something special. Instead of registration fees, each truck gave a donation to Roswell Park Cancer Institute or a cancer research institute of their choosing. CAS plans on following this up with other awareness events, such as employees being allowed to sub out their black attire with pink.

The day before the event Stewart said, “We hope it’s successful and trucks find value in being here.”

With an impressive turnout and long lines in front of every truck, both buyers and sellers benefitted from this event.