It took exactly one year for a first-time event spolighting Denver’s favorite food trucks in all their glory to turn into a much-anticipated carnival for the city of Northglenn and food truck vendors.
“Its our biggest event of the season — that’s how we are treating it and promoting it,” said food truck owner Matt McDonald. “It simply is the biggest food truck event in the Denver area for the year, and we are going all in with both feet.”
Northglenn’s Food Truck Carnival returns to the city’s Community Center area May 12 through 14 with a carnival midway, live music and food provided by 64 of Colorado’s favorite gourmet food trucks.
City Event Supervisor Steven Stokes said the city is prepared for thousands to attend.
“Last year on Friday in our first hour we had 1,500 people come through the gate,” Stokes said. “It was an overwhelming and wonderful experience, honestly, to have that many people show up for the first night of a first-time event.”
The carnival’s initial outing was Northglenn’s most successful inaugural event, with more than 30,000 attending over the three days.
The city is hoping its bigger and better sophomore event is even more successful: Last year, the event featured 22 food trucks — this year’s features 64 trucks overall, between 20 and 30 different trucks each day.
It also includes a small cadre of “designer” trucks — clothing and gift retailers in panel trucks — more parking and a bigger carnival.
It’s a sign of last year’s success.
“It’s a good combination of a lot of things,” Stokes said. “It was a first-year event and we did a ton of promotion and there are not a lot of food truck events up north. And then, we have amazing drive-by opportunities, with I-25 right next door. Once we start putting up the carnival rides, we’ll be getting phone calls right away.”
The rides are provided by Wright Amusements of Elbert County. But Stokes said the food is the main attraction.
“This is not fast food,” he said. “They are gourmet. They were never meant to put food out fast, to be a slower option. So that’s why we brought in more trucks this year.”
Vendors said it’s a great showcase for what they do.
Jose Dominguez operates Arepas House, his Venezuelan-themed food truck. The Northglenn event was one of the best events he attended since he started operation two years ago.
“It was amazing,” he said. “There were a lot of people, a lot of business for us. For us, me it was one of the best festivals I attended in the last year. The lines were huge.”
McDonald, who operates two trucks, said both will be coming to the Northglenn event. His Hey PB &J truck sells gourmet grilled peanut butter sandwiches. His Meatball truck specializes in Italian sandwiches, like meatball subs, Italian sausage sandwiches and chicken parmesan.
“We normally run with two people per truck,” he said. “This time, we are bringing five people per truck.”
It’s worth it, he said.
“Some trucks I’ve talked to worry Northglenn is overbooked this year, but I don’t care at all,” McDonald said. “They are trying to put something good together and they are extremely organized. They are the only ones I see really doing anything like this.”
Stokes said it is a unique event.
“There isn’t anything up north here that really focuses 100 percent on food trucks,” Stokes said. “While there are food trucks at just about every event, we had 22 at our event last year — about eight trucks per day. We thought we were doing really well, and here we have 25 trucks per day this year.”