Thousands of attendees converged on Veterans Park for the third annual Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition Aug. 13 to devour cuisine from 36 food trucks, celebrating with grand prize winner Tortilla Street Food, and contributing to an estimated $25,000 being raised for charity.
With 21 first-time competing food trucks and 15 returning, the mix of new and familiar dishes had attendees scrambling to decide which truck to try first.
“I really loved the variety of food here,” said Springfield resident and first-time attendee Erin DeVilbiss. “There were samplings of foods from several different backgrounds and I loved the waffle trucks. I’m really excited for next year.”
With successful format changes implemented at last year’s competition after the inaugural event in 2014, such as refrigerated storage for vendors and having all of the food trucks parked along one side of the road to lessen crowd congestion, this year’s competition ran smoothly and was deemed a success, said Eddie Bell, Rotary member and Food Truck Competition marketing committee chair.
“The format of last year’s event improved so many aspects of the competition,” said Bell. “This year, we did our best to continue that success rather than making major changes again.”
The usefulness of the event website and mobile application was also noted by attendees, with many saying that the event’s online presence helped them prepare for the competition and keep them updated leading up to and during the event.
“The app was super useful,” said Allison Lake, of Dayton. “I loved how organized it was and how all the trucks and menus were available to look at on my phone. I’m really glad I downloaded it.”
Six local bands and performers, including Springfield’s own Omega Point, Andy Fox and Tony Powell, serenaded attendees throughout the competition, adding to the event’s overall atmosphere.
Tortilla Street Food took home the $10,000 grand prize for Best Food Truck Cuisine with its signature dish, a Chipotle Barbacoa Taco. Smokin’ Bee-Bee-Q, from Dayton, was named the runner-up and was awarded $2,000 in prize money.
“This was our first time at the competition, and I’m excited to come away with the win,” said Tortilla Street Food owner Carlos Torres. The Reynoldsburg-based company features multiple trucks that go to many events, but Torres said the Springfield event is special because of the “kindness” and excitement of the people in the community.”
More than a dozen anonymous judges selected the winners for Best Truck Design, Best Customer Service and Best Menu from those not winning first or second place, with each receiving $1,000.
- Best Truck Design – Mojo Tago, Columbus, Ohio
- Best Customer Service – The Queen’s Table, Columbus, Ohio
- Best Menu – Street Thyme, Columbus, Ohio
An estimated $25,000 was raised during the event from drink and T-shirt sales, as well as corporate sponsorships, and will benefit the Springfield Rotary Club’s charitable causes like providing services to people with disabilities and raising money for international projects, such as Polio Plus and various projects in Lesotho, Africa
Overall, the annual Gourmet Food Truck Competition continues to be a staple community event and Springfield’s must-taste event of the summer.
“We’re very pleased with how this year’s competition turned out and are already looking forward to planning the 2017 Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition,” said Bell. “Mark your calendars for the second Saturday in August.”