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‘Food Truck Wars’ in Surrey this spring as festival pivots back to ‘normal’ in a big way

Forty food trucks will fill Cloverdale Fairgrounds from April 8-10
A few of the food truck festival attendees at Cloverdale Fairgrounds five years ago, in April 2017. (File photo)

“Food Truck Wars” will bring food, liquor and live entertainment to Surrey this spring.

Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival will host a three-day event at Cloverdale Fairgrounds, outdoors near the Agriplex building, with free admission from April 8-10.

Festival planners are set to pivot back to normal operations, with food-loving patrons gathered on site, after creating a drive-thru model over the past couple of years, during the pandemic.

“We want to bring people back in a big way, and we’d love to make it an annual event in Surrey, in Cloverdale,” said Jason Faria, who runs the festival as part of his family’s Next Gen Concessions business.

“We can have a maximum 5,000 people a day, according to the PHO (public health order) as it’s written right now,” he added. “We’re back to ‘walk-through’ with site-wide beer and wine service.”

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Forty food trucks will fill the site with a variety of food options during the weekend festival. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to truck operators in categories of “Best Meat Sweats,” “International,” “Sweets,” “International/ Fusion,” “Classic” and more.

Pre-pandemic, the festival’s events typically hosted around two dozen trucks, on average, at sites across Greater Vancouver.

“The biggest thing people have asked for is selection,” Faria said. “When you go to these events, you don’t typically go by yourself, you go with friends and family, and you end up trying what other people got. You know, ‘Let’s order 10 of those and share.’ We haven’t been able to offer that in close to two years, that kind of variety.”

• RELATED STORY, from March 2021: Food trucker motors on with drive-thru festival this spring.

For some of the food truck operators involved, “Food Truck Wars” will be a reintroduction to events again, Faria noted.

“A lot of them have done some catering and maybe some smaller events and street-side service, but with the group we are working with, probably 15 or so are trucks that we haven’t worked with in the past,” he explained. “So this has allowed us to work with new people, new vendors and new trucks that have popped up over the past two years, and some of those haven’t done an event yet, because there haven’t been any events over the past two years.”

A list of the food trucks is posted to the festival’s Facebook page, along with other event details.

Festival operators “want to get buzz going” with a large kickoff event in Cloverdale heading into the spring/summer season, he added.

“We do have five other events we’re releasing next Wednesday (Feb. 9),” Faria revealed on Thursday (Feb. 3). “My phone is ringing off the hook today with people saying, ‘Please bring this to our city.’ But we would love to do this again, make it an annual thing, especially in Surrey. Of all the events we did during COVID, Surrey was the best to us, always. Our North Surrey event, at the secondary school, it was incredible. We had so much traffic, and it was such positive feedback for us, because we were going outside the box to do our event.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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