Chapel Hill, NC: Food Truck Rodeo drives charity

from Facebook page (TABLE's 4th Annual Food Truck Rodeo)

By Kristina Kokkonos  |  Daily Tarheel

from Facebook page (TABLE's 4th Annual Food Truck Rodeo)
from Facebook page (TABLE’s 4th Annual Food Truck Rodeo)

On Saturday, Chapel Hill residents can experience good food, contests, live performances and more — all while supporting a cause.

TABLE, Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s nonprofit organization to feed hungry children in the area, is holding its annual Food Truck Rodeo. Twelve percent of the food truck proceeds will be donated to TABLE.

The rodeo, which was originally held at the Carrboro Town Commons, will take place at Orange United Methodist Church for the second time, said Ashton Tippins, executive director of TABLE.

“Since we’ve moved locations, more people have found out about the event and attended,” Tippins said.

Returning to TABLE’s rodeo are food trucks such as Captain Poncho’s and Tar Heel Creamery. Al’s Burger Shack and Hibachi Xpress food trucks will be attending TABLE’s event for the first time.

Dusty Donuts, based in Chapel Hill, is another truck returning to the rodeo and will host a new event this year — a doughnut-eating contest where participants eat 20 doughnut holes in 20 seconds for $20, said owner Jake West.

Tippins said the winner will receive a gift certificate to Johnny’s Gone Fishing in Carrboro.

Attendees can also engage in a taste-testing contest. Participants can try a dish from every competing food truck and vote for their favorite by marking on a postcard. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the contest will go to TABLE’s program.

The Food Truck Rodeo will feature more than just food: music will be provided by local performances from Shannon Lachot, Tyler Millard Band and Rinaldi Flying Circus; a kid’s play area, bounce

house included, will be available; and a live storyteller will be performing.

Cynthia Raxter, a former librarian at UNC’s Health Sciences Library, has been storytelling professionally for three years and will return for this year’s rodeo to perform.

“I only tell true and original stories,” Raxter said. “Things that happened to me and my friends or family, that kind of stuff.”

Tippins said TABLE’s Food Truck Rodeo is planned and run by working volunteers, including some UNC students.

“UNC students are very involved in TABLE,” she said. “The way I originally got involved was by being a team leader (as a student).”

West said the rodeo is also a way for Chapel Hill’s community to get together and get involved.

“Chapel Hill doesn’t really have food truck events like Durham and Raleigh, so to be involved in a charity food truck event there is pretty neat,” he said. “And we all agree on TABLE’s philosophy of helping children.”

Raxter also emphasized how important supporting kids in the area is; for her, it’s somewhat of a personal experience.

“I come from a family of seven kids, and all of them are either teachers or principals,” she said. “They all say the major issue facing kids today is basic support issues.”

For Tippins, the Food Truck Rodeo is a way for the community to come together for the good of the kids in it.

“We’ve been serving 400 kids a week this school year,” she said. “And we couldn’t do it without them.”