August 13, 2014 at 2:57 PM
RANDOLPH, NJ - This past Saturday, the County College of Morris hosted the “Just Jersey Food Truck Festival” organized JMK Events. The festival featured a variety of freshly prepared food trucks and fun for the whole family.
Food trucks are famous for delicious food being cooked on the spot in a timely manner. More known for being in larger cities and on college campuses, they serve as the perfect quick bite to eat. The “Just Jersey Food Truck Festival” brings all your food trucks from around the area to one location.
The vendors included all type of food from exotic meats, gourmet soups, tacos, smoothies and ice cream, all the way to Indian cuisine. There was something for everyone.
Visitors experiences seemed to vary depending on when they arrived. The mid day period from 12-3 saw a crush of people decend on the event creating long lines and some frustrated attendees. Those arriving earlier or later enjoyed a more leisurely time and easier access to the trucks.
“The food is great, but my favorite part is having good beer all day,” said Matt Crone. Not only did the festival have the best food trucks in attendance, but there were plenty of beverages for those over the legal age. With 20 half kegs and a sangria table, many enjoyed a drink to keep cool in the hot sun.
Jackie Lieberman brought her family, and came all the way from Scotch Plains to attend. "We loved it. Got here at 11:00 a.m. before there were any lines. My daughter got her face painted and we tried all kinds of food. Our favorite was the fried cheese curds with siracha mayo. No, the Belgian waffle with ice cream. No, the gumbo. The corn on the cob topped with cheese and chile pepper was really good too."
Those arriving while Lieberman was leaving were not so lucky. Lines quickly swelled to 45 mintues or longer and frustration set in at the long wait for food and drinks on a hot day. One patron who didn't want to be named stated "I waited 45 minutes and the deep fryer shut down. All I could get was a hot dog. Not a fancy gourmet hot dog, just a little, regular, normal hot dog that I could get anywhere."
Others left frustrated stating that they were heading over to the diner. When asked about the event as they were exiting, their comments were "Great idea, poor execution. I don't think they expected this many people. It could be fantastic if planned and organized better, for example there are no dedicated drink stands so I had to wait an hour on a food line just to get my kid a bottle of water."
The late day visitors however enjoyed an experience similar to Liebermans early day experience. For them, after getting a full belly, there was still plenty to do. Other vendors included face painting, shopping, a dunk tank, and other games. Many families took the opportunity to make a day out of the event and picnic out. With the sun shining bright, a lot of people took to the shade, and just sat and enjoyed the sweet sounds of the live entertainment.
Besides providing good food and entertainment for those that attended, the festival also helped build a platform for many of the businesses. The exposure helps generate customers and bring attention to many of the business that were there.
“It was actually a very good event. We were expecting a good event, but this was just outstanding,” said Marcus Crawford, owner of “The Original Soupman” truck. The Soupman originates from famous chef Al’s walk up stand in NYC who was also known for his infamous punchlines from the show Seinfeld. Since then his name had been branded and being spread across the area on wheels and in store. Marcus’ truck originates out of Old bridge and has only been active for five months. He said they received his largest turnout from this weekends festival. With their famous Lobster rolls and seafood bisque, their truck was one of the most popular, and one of those sold out by the afternoon. With such a good turn out, in the future he said, “As long as they bring us back, we’ll be here.”
JMK events owner, Allison Kohler is second generation born into the business. “The best aspect is really just bringing so many different people together with so many different foods, vendors, you know it’s just a feel good atmosphere. I feel very stimulated by it, I feel like we’re like were stimulating smaller businesses,” she said.
The food festival is only one of the many events she host throughout the year. She said the best aspect of their events is bringing communities together. With that in mind she ensures to get the best vendors and entertainment.
Over 5,000 people showed up to the college to indulge in all types of goodies and enjoy the festivities. “We had a number of food trucks sell out, but a couple of them said they couldn’t fit any more stuff in their refrigerator,” said Kohler. That was the story with most of the trucks by late afternoon with such a huge turnout. Even with many vendors sold out of food, a lot of people stayed until the end of the end to just enjoy the day.
In attendance this year was El Lechon de Negron, The Outslider Food Truck, Oink & Moo BBQ, The Cow and the Curd, Cupcake Carnival, Waffle De Lys, Empanada Guy, Prime Stache, The Thai Elephant, French Quater, Fried Up Flatbread Company, The Taco Truck, Romano’s Disco Fries, Gorilla Cheese NYC, Dark Side of the Moo, The Original Soupman, WrapStar, Philly Curbside Creamery Robeks Fresh Juices and Smoothies and La Parrilla.
For more JMK shows and events you can visit their website at http://www.jmkshows.com/