Ferndale Food Truck Rally a Success, Organizers Say
Between 2,500 to 3,000 people attended the Metro Detroit Street Eats event at the Rust Belt Market last Wednesday. Organizers are still ironing out plans for potential repeat events.
For Rust Belt owner Chris Best, the food truck rally Wednesday inside and outside the market was something like hosting a party – for a whole lot of people.
"It's like throwing a party and having 2,000 people and being the host," Best said with a laugh. Though it was stressful at times, "I just wanted everybody to have a good time," he said.
Metro Detroit Street Eats drew in an estimated 2,500-3,000 people. The event, which was sponsored by the Michigan Mobile Food Vendors Association, featured seven food trucks stationed in the alley behind the Rust Belt Market with dining tables available inside along with live entertainment and the market's wide selection of unique items for sale by local vendors.
The event was similar to the food truck rally at the Farmers Market in Royal Oak earlier this month and in February, which at only halfway through the event saw 1,200 customers served by the six food trucks and a cart from Treat Dreams.
The Ferndale event ran 4-9 p.m., and Best said all of the food vendors were out of food right at the end of the evening.
"They all told me that it was the best event they've had yet as far as number of sales and revenues," Best said of the vendors. "It was the best event yet."
While there were plenty of tables inside, Best said many people didn't know they were available and some people may have been hesitant to bring food into the business.
"It's hard to get people to bring food into a place of business like that," he said, adding that a loudspeaker system to make an announcement might help for future events.
Organizers haven't yet decided whether the event will continue and if so, how often, but Best said he wants to keep it going.
"We want to do it again for sure. We'll do it even better next time," he said. "It was a good time."
Treat Dreams owner Scott Maloney, who led efforts to organize the first Street Eats event in Ferndale, said the next step is to meet with city officials about how it went and their requests for future events.
Maloney said he left briefly around 6 p.m. and by the time he got back at 6:15 p.m., the crowd had seemed to double in size.
"It was just people to people in that kind of central area where the trucks were," he said. "I think everyone had a good time."
Though some people complained of long lines later in the evening, Maloney said organizers are looking at ways to reconfigure the set-up. "The biggest issue is the lines all met in the middle," he said, adding that input from the city will also be helpful.
There were no incidents requiring police assistance and no one became unruly, he said. "I thought it was a big success," Maloney said.
Best said the sunny, 82-degree weather may have played a role in the big turnout. "It exceeded the expectations for our first event. I think the weather had a big part to play in that," he said.
What did you think?
Below are some comments from Patch readers about Wednesday's food truck rally. Share your thoughts on the event in the comments section below.
- Brian: This was great. It took about 40 minutes to get a burrito, but I was happy to be out there in the weather and see so many people enjoying themselves, not to mention supporting some local businesses! Big thanks to El Guapo for donating tips to the New Beginnings Animal Shelter in Berkley! The Ned Nederlander was great!
- James: I came down there around 6:30 and just kept going...I have been to the food truck fairs in Detroit, Royal Oak, and now Ferndale....but I have yet to get any food because the lines are so crazy!
- Tony: Great food but absolutely horrible location. Way to many people there for that small of a space
- Christine: Neds Baja turkey burger and veggie burger were great! So were the skinny fries with rosemary ketchup and truffle MAYO! Yum Yum!