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Biggest food truck fest in Canada

This year’s Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest is drawing a record 70 trucks to downtown New Westminster
Tacofino Food Truck Festtival
One of last year’s most popular food trucks, Tacofino, came to New West for last summer's Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest, but food trucks haven't been permitted on city streets. That's about to change, following a successful pilot project near Steel & Oak Brewing.

Foodies will have over 70 options to choose from at the third annual Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest on Aug 22.

That’s 55 more than the inaugural event, according to organizers.

“The biggest feedback we got was to make it bigger and better,” said Maddison McKitrick, program and events coordinator at the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Association (BIA). “It’s clearly an event that people want to see and come out for. It has become Canada’s largest one-day food truck fest.”

Back by popular demand are Tacofino, Johnny’s Pops and DougieDog Hot Dogs, while trucks like Culver City Salads and Cheeses Crust will be making their first appearance. Creating the roster was an easy task, McKitrick added, because there were lots to choose from.

“The first year, it was really us trying to sell the trucks on the event, and now they’re all coming out of the woodwork. We’re getting inquiries from trucks we’ve never even heard of,” she said.

Meanwhile, McKitrick anticipates a crowd of about 75,000 people during the six-hour event, after drawing about 50,000 hungry visitors last year.

The increase in foot traffic has been a positive for the association, she noted, showcasing to those who live outside the Royal City boundaries what New West is all about, including the newly renovated Trapp+Holbrook building and the Anvil Centre.

To help alleviate the long lineups, the festival will stretch down to Eighth Street, two blocks farther than last summer.

“It’s basically the entire strip of Columbia, so we’re hoping with the extra square footage we have, we can space out trucks a little more, too, and hopefully that can help with the lines,” McKitrick said. “But there’s some trucks that are going to have a line no matter what; doesn’t matter if we had 100 trucks here or not, they’re going to be packed all day.”

A big focus for the BIA this year will be shining the spotlight on not just the restaurants on four wheels, but also on the local food and beverage establishments, like Longtail Kitchen, Rain City Juicery and Spud Shack.

One of the tips she suggested for those looking to try a little bit of everything is to come in a group. That way, everyone can pick a truck, and all the grub gets shared.

“That’s the hard part with having 70 trucks. You want to try everything, but the meals are quite big and satisfying,” said McKitrick.

There will be live entertainment during the festival, with buskers and the Royal City Swing group showing off their stuff. There will also be a couple of DJs, as well as a live band in front of Heritage Grill.

Columbia StrEAT Food Truck Fest runs Aug. 22 from 4 to 10 p.m. See www.downtownnewwest.ca.

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