By Parvaneh Pessian | Durham Region
WHITBY — Foodies will have even more to munch on at this year’s Food Truck Frenzy as the Rotary Club of Whitby plans to extend the hours of its popular event and add an extra day.
Representatives from the Rotary Club recently approached Whitby council with a request for approval of the changes for the event’s third year in an effort to boost attendance and the overall funds raised.
“We’re hoping that this will provide more engagement for the community and a better opportunity for them to see some of the foods that our trucks can offer, but also help us to raise more funds for use in the community,” said Rotarian Brandon Lambert.
The event has raised between $70,000 and $80,000 over the past two years, benefitting various local causes.
Council approved Rotary’s request that the 2016 Food Truck Frenzy include a ticketed VIP event on Friday, May 13 from 6 to 11 p.m., and that the event run until 11 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 14 and until 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 15.
Whitby’s first Food Truck Frenzy was held over two days on Mother’s Day weekend in 2014 and drew more than 30,000 people to sample cuisine from about a dozen vendors. Organizers added 10 more food trucks the following year and moved the event from the Abilities Centre parking lot to the Iroquois Park Sports Centre parking lot to accommodate the anticipated crowds. Unfortunately, attendance dropped significantly in 2015.
“We believe part of the reason for the decline in attendance last year was the weather on Sunday,” said Mr. Lambert, adding that complaints on social media about long lineups the first year may have also turned some people off.
“The flow was much better last year and we had a much better response from the attendees,” he said. “We’re hoping with our marketing campaign this year that we’re going to see attendance (of) between 30,000 and 40,000 people.”
Along with extending the event’s operating hours and adding a day, the Rotary Club of Whitby hopes to increase this year’s number of visitors through more variety in food trucks, as well as an improved stage area and entertainment.