By Rachel Crosby | Gainesville.com
Michael Musoke stepped down from his food truck, Off the Griddle, and looked at the line of about 50 people waiting to try his food.
His jaw dropped.
“Wow,” he said, smiling.
It was just past 7 p.m. at Gainesville’s second Food Truck Rally, and a mix of college students and families milled about the High Dive parking lot at 210 SW Second Ave. with food and drinks in hand.
“I’m so excited this is going on again,” Musoke said. “I think it could be a monthly thing.”
Pat Lavery of Glory Days Presents, the company that collaborated with Pelican Brothers Food Truck to host the free festival, said Saturday’s event felt more manageable than the first one.
Ten trucks set up shop at the rally, up from six at the first event.
Pelican Brothers, one of the hosts, was there, along with Cart Attack, Charlie’s Snow Shack, Grilled Cheese Wagon, Go Go Stuff Yourself, Hootie’s Hot Dogs, Humble Pie, Monsta Lobsta, Sizzle Wagon and Off the Griddle.
The added trucks and parking lot space just in front of Five Star Pizza helped ease the crowding, Lavery said. Lines were more defined, though still long, and there was more room to stand, talk and eat.
“It’s been a little less stressful for the vendors,” Lavery said.
Parents pushed strollers and held small toddlers’ hands as they walked past the different trucks, getting a feel for what each one offered.
Stuart McDaniel, 41, of Gainesville, came to the rally with his daughter and twin sons. McDaniel waited in line for Pelican Brothers as his sons bit into bacon grilled cheese sandwiches from the Grilled Cheese Wagon.
“We’ve seen kids from their old soccer team and their school,” McDaniel said. “It’s been totally fun.”
College students stood in groups, some leaning against their bikes, talking and laughing.
Danielle Jordan, 20, reached through the Pelican Brothers window for her chicken-and-waffle slider. A small German shepherd-mix puppy named Ellie circled Jordan’s legs, tangling her leash and sniffing up at the sweet and savory creation.
“It’s friggin’ delicious,” Jordan said. “It was a pretty long line, but I only waited for about 15 minutes.”
On the outskirt of the main crowd, Maple Canner, of Gainesville, sat in a nylon folding chair that she brought with her. The evening sun was warm and her silver hair flashed in the cool breeze as she talked with friends.
“Truthfully, last time everyone ran out of food later in the evening because it was such a good turnout,” Canner said. On Saturday night, Canner said, “They’re long lines, but they’re moving. Everybody’s eating while they’re waiting, which means they were able to try more food this time.”
Pat Lavery said starting the event earlier seemed to stagger crowds. Instead of a mass of people, patrons came in waves and waited in visible lines for average amounts of time, Lavery said.
“Last time was a sprint,” Lavery said. “This time it’s been a marathon.”