Food Truck Competition Draws Thousands to Veteran’s Park

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The food truck craze that has swept the nation came to Springfield on Saturday with the city’s first-ever Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition.

Thousands of food lovers from all over the Miami Valley invaded Veteran’s Park, indulging in the signature dishes and other menu items of 35 gourmet food trucks from across the Midwest and as far away as Maryland. The food selection ranged from authentic Japanese, Jamaican, Indian, Greek and Mexican foods to traditional American cuisine, and everything in between.

“This was a bigger event than we thought it would be,” said Joel Tomkinson, a Springfield resident and self-proclaimed foodie who “scoped out the event” weeks in advance.

“Food is something we all unite around, and food trucks are the epitome of local, different and unique,” Tomkinson said. “Despite the (slightly drizzly) weather, it’s a ray of sunshine and good news. It’s good to do things for Springfield.”

A total of $15,000 in prize money was awarded to the winning food trucks. A group of local celebrity judges voted Harvest Mobile, of Spring Valley, Ohio, the $10,000 Best Food Truck Cuisine grand prize winner based on the flavor, presentation and creativity of its signature dish, “Land and Sea BLT.” Mojo Tago, of Columbus, Ohio, was named the runner-up and received $2,000 for its signature dish, “Three Amigos.”

“It feels so good after a year and a half of working to get to this point,” said Harvest Mobile’s Patrick Sartin after being announced the winner in his first food truck competition. Sartin has been cooking since he was 14, and has cooked for three U.S. Presidents, but has only been in the food truck business for two years. “Everything worked out great,” he said. “Springfield did an excellent job promoting this event.”

A second group of roving anonymous judges chose the winners of Best Truck Design, Best Customer Service and Best Menu, each receiving $1,000:

The loosening of many belt notches throughout the event was all in good taste as all proceeds from the event will be donated to Springfield Rotary Club’s various charities, including Services to People with Disabilities, Polio Plus (the worldwide eradication of Polio) and the International Project in Lesotho. An estimated $40,000 to $60,000 was raised.

“It turned out great,” said Eddie Bell, a Rotary member on the Gourmet Food Truck Competition Committee. “Many vendors ran out of all the food they brought, there was a constant flow of people here all day, and great entertainment made for a wonderful overall community event.”

About Springfield Rotary Club

The Springfield Rotary Club was founded in 1914 as the 98th Rotary Club established in the country, and is comprised of community business and professional leaders who volunteer their time and resources to help others in the Clark County area and throughout the world. This will be the club’s first Gourmet Food Truck Competition, with proceeds benefiting its various charitable causes.

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