By Greg Jordan | Bluefield Daily Telegrap
PRINCETON — Outdoor concerts, food trucks and a beer garden came together Saturday for the first annual Food Truck Frenzy outside the Chuck Mathena Center.
Local food vending trucks and others from outside the area started arriving at morning outside the Chuck Mathena Center (CMC) while an outdoor stage was being erected and craft beer companies set up an outdoor beer garden. CMC Director Candace Wilson said this first festival would have seven food trucks.
“We just wanted to do something nice for the community,” she said. “We’ve been wanting to branch outdoors in the summer months when it’s nice outside. We hope every year this gets bigger and bigger with more food trucks, more vendors.”
Kathrn Kandas of Community Connection, Inc. said that seeing the new Food Truck Frenzy event get underway “was super exciting.”
“We’ve been planning this for over a year, and we’ve had a lot of support from the city,” she said. “We’re excited. There’s food and music and it’s going to be a lot of fun. The weather is great today.”
At the other end of the parking lot, KingPin Events Productions was making the last adjustments on the outdoor stage. Band including Blue Oyster Cult, Hinder, Mad Souls, and Smile Empty Soul were among the musicians scheduled to perform.
The goal behind the concert was to offer the community a variety of music, Dan White of KingPin said.
“We want to bring in national acts so people don’t have to drive to Huntington or Roanoke or Charlotte,” Anthony Ferracaccio said. “We want to bring things here to the community.”
Cooks were busy in food trucks with Chinese food, barbecue, ice cream, funnel cakes, and other summertime cuisine. One customer heard a question that usually isn’t heard in an Appalachian kitchen.
“How’s your shark?” Delano Sweeney of Princeton was asked at the Shark Shack.
“Oh, it’s really good,” Sweeney said.
Had he ever tasted shark before?
“No, but I figured why not,” he replied, looking at the other food trucks. “We’re going to try and hit up every one of them today while we’re here.”
Some visitors drove for hundreds of miles to hear the concert. Rachel Halpin and Kevin Ratliff of Martinsville, Va. drove for two hours so they could hear her new favorite band, Smile Empty Soul.
“They’re not a new band, but one I’ve just discovered,” she said.
Wilson said visitors from New Mexico, Delaware, Georgia, Florida and Alabama also attended Saturday’s festival.
Members of the Princeton Rotary Club were setting up tents and tables for the beer garden. Participating breweries included: Bell’s Beer; Big Timber; Country Boy Brewing; Devil’s Backbone; Dogfish Head; Founder’s Brewing; Greenbrier Valley Brewery; Mountain State Brewing; Oskar Blues Brewing; Sophisticated Hound Brewing; Stone Brewing; Swilled Dog Cider; and Weathered Ground.
“We have about 80 volunteers who are going to be here to help serve the beer,” Rotarian Tammie Lucas said while helping set up the tables.
The Princeton Police Department and the Princeton Fire Department were present for Saturday’s festival.