How do you attract people to your downtown?
As the social structures of local communities changed over the last half century, local government officials and business leaders sought ways to keep their cities’ downtown vibrant and at the core of their identities.
But times change, and the task became increasingly difficult. Advanced communication and entertainment technologies diminished the demand and dimmed the lure to go downtown.
Mayberry is history. Or is it?
The Downtown Leesburg Business Association has latched onto a unique idea that just may draw people back to downtown. The idea? Gourmet food trucks.
The trucks are filled with trendy fish tacos, lobster rolls and other culinary treats.
Association members caught a glimpse of how popular the trucks were in other cities, including Mount Dora, Clermont and Ocoee.
Association members watched crowds sometimes numbering in the thousands returning to downtowns to taste the food and to shop.
“These trucks are kind of sweeping the nation; it’s really phenomenal,” said association president Rex Masterman.
Food trucks are gaining national attention and can be seen regularly on television shows like Food Network’s the Great Food Truck Race and its sister station, the Cooking Channel’s Eat St.
The association plans to host its first rally Sept. 8. It’s aptly called the Food Truck Rally.
“We plan to kick it off in style, with a free movie and a table decorating contest,” Masterman said.
“Along with a great selection of gourmet food to choose from, we are going to be giving away special prizes for ‘Best Decorated Table,’ and that means you can bring your own card table and chairs, table cloth and whatever your imagination can dream up. Plan for a fun night in Historic Downtown Main Street; also, our local merchants will be open for business.”
Mount Dora will host its Food Truck Bazaar from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Masterman said he wants the rally to become a regular attraction on the second Saturday of every month.
“This is just one more idea to expose people to Leesburg’s downtown business area,” he said.
Gourmet food trucks to revive downtown? We believe it’s worth the effort.