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Food Truck Fiesta Brings Fine Fare and Family Fun to Benefit THON

by on September 12, 2019 6:00 AM

With a new pair of elected organizers at the helm, Penn State student special-interest organization Apollo is ready to host its third annual State College Food Truck Fiesta from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Grace Lutheran Church, 205 S. Garner St.. 

Students Wilson Miller and Mary Enger were elected to organize the 2019 event, which benefits THON, for the Apollo organization.

“This year, we’re bringing back the same bands and hopefully getting another one. We’re having a DJ again,” Miller said. “We’re mixing up the food trucks; we’re getting variations of food trucks just to give the public some different [options]. We’re also shifting the event [focus] a little bit more toward the children’s side of it, since it is a THON-related event…We hope to have more child-friendly outdoor games and [activities] that they can take part in.”

The Food Truck Fiesta features nine local and regional food trucks, about half of which are from the Centre County area, though some vendors are coming from as far as Philadelphia. Vendors include Happy Valley Chef, Brazilian Munchies, Miller’s Tropical Sno, Taproot Kitchen, Duck Donuts, Happy Dishes, Potato Coop, Doan’s Bones and Miller's Handmade Caramel Popcorn.

Families can expect kid-friendly activities such as yard games like corn hole and potentially face painting, following the success of last year’s henna offering. 

“Wilson and I started planning the Food Truck Fiesta about three months ago,” Enger said. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. We’ve had to coordinate not only with the host of the event, Grace Lutheran Church, because they’ve been gracious enough to let us use their parking lot for free, but we’ve also had to coordinate with health inspectors…We’ve also had to be in contact with all the food truck vendors. All of them have been helpful and very responsive.”

While Enger and Miller work on the event for months ahead of time, during the actual event, dozens of their fellow Apollo members come together to assist in setting up, cleaning up and running the event. 

Enger said that putting together the event is personally rewarding when she sees the enthusiasm it generates.

“Since this is our third annual Food Truck Fiesta, people are really excited about it,” she said. “They’re looking forward to coming or being able to participate as a volunteer. That’s definitely the most rewarding. It’s really great to see all the community members come out, all of the people in our organization volunteering for it and for a really good cause.”

Last year’s Food Truck Fiesta attracted 2,000–2,500 attendees.

“As always, we’re hoping for more, especially since the event has happened two years in a row,” Enger said. “We’re trying to start a tradition where people come out every year and just enjoy the weather and good food. We’re trying, with marketing, to get the word out there so that as many people who want to come, show up and have fun.”

As the free event takes place on a Penn State home game weekend, particularly the day before the much-anticipated Penn State vs. Pitt game, downtown State College is expected to be more crowded than normal during the Food Truck Fiesta. 

Enger and Miller note that, in years past, the event has been most crowded around 6–6:30 p.m. and families with small children might want to arrive earlier in the evening, 4:30–5 p.m. 

Free street parking is available around Grace Lutheran Church; paid deck parking is available nearby.


Photo courtesy Apollo.

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, lifestyle and entertainment writer. She can be reached at [email protected]
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