Grand Blanc High School, Grand Blanc, MI — July 12, 2019
What is the Grand Blanc Food Truck Festival? As the name suggests food trucks featuring varied cuisine. Plus live music, crafts, bounce houses for the children and a shopping expo were all part of the festivities featured in the parking lot outside of Grand Blanc High School on Friday.
There were three barbecue trucks on site, a couple of trucks specializing in desserts, two donut trucks and a bunch of sandwich trucks. A total of 20 fun eateries in all. The Food Truck festival began three years ago and was inspired by a Grand Blanc council member, according to Christina Irwin, Human Resources and Event Coordinator for the City of Grand Blanc. “He saw a food truck and said I would love to do this. From there, it just kind of spiraled to a festival,” Irwin said.
Live music is also performed adding to the celebratory atmosphere. The “Big Donut” played at the festival yesterday. “They performed at our Tuesday Tunes event we had last year in the downtown in front of Firehouse Subs,” Irwin said. “I thought they were really good. So, I booked them. They sound great. I think the audience enjoys them because they are easy listening and family friendly. They do a lot of cover songs.”
Shane Lahey, who plays drums for The Big Donut said the crowd was receptive.
“It was rockin’ and rollin.’ The festival was pretty awesome. We had some amazing food, and it was delicious. We had a lot of fun. We got to eat some spicy food, and my mouth was on fire. We tried the Asian food. They had chicken and beef. It was really good!” Lahey said.
“You couldn’t ask for a nicer day. It was beautiful!” said Ryan Lane, who plays bass for The Big Donut. The bands vary for each of the three Food Truck Festivals held in Grand Blanc this summer. Irwin selected the musical groups. “People sometimes give me ideas for groups and then I listen to them and determine whether they are a good fit or not,” Irwin said.
Erica O’Mara said, “It was a very nice day for the festival because it was not super hot, there was so much variety in food trucks it was difficult to choose, and the music made people want to stay longer.
The kids’ zone has been a part of the Food Truck Festival from the start. Its conception, to give kids something to do while their parents enjoyed food and music. “We wanted to keep people here, mingling and experiencing their community,” Irwin said.
Three bounce houses were donated by Grumlaw Church and Real Estate for a Cause which is another new business in downtown Grand Blanc. “I think the kids really enjoy the bounce houses,” Irwin said. Trinity Lewis said the kids’ zone was “really cool. I liked the bounce house you could race on because I like to race,” she said.
There were also craft tables set up from which kids could make patriotic flags out of popsicle sticks. There was sand art, pictures, masks to color, and a flower for the children to make.
David Harris was a volunteer who helped with kids crafts. “It was a great time to see the kids having fun,” he said. The Ally Challenge provided a free putt-putt contest in which all participants won prizes.
A shopping expo was added as a new component to the festival to bring extra people in and make the event even more successful. There were woodworkers, clothing sellers, and booths from new downtown Grand Blanc businesses, like State Farm Insurance, interested in getting their names out to the community. This year there were 20 non-food vendors, selected by Irwin, who said she did not turn down any vendor applicant.
The Grand Blanc Educational Foundation is having a duck race in August and they were selling tickets for the race at the festival.
Irwin said Grand Blanc High School was an ideal place to hold the Food Truck Festival.
“It’s centrally located. You can see it clearly from Saginaw Street and Holly Road. We knew the visual was going to be good. Plus, it’s a huge lot with plenty of parking.”
Last month’s Food Truck Festival featured Third Degree Burns, a band from Lapeer with 60 child members that is a non-profit. There will also be a band at the festival on August 9th. Irwin is waiting to receive a confirmation to verify the group that will perform. Each month the food trucks at the festivals vary as well because some vendors do not have the availability to do all three. So, the August festival will feature a new variety of food.
“I think the July Food Truck Festival went over really well. By 5:30 we were already full seating wise. People were in line for food. The music was here and the bounce houses were doing well. So, I consider it successful. This is one of our favorite events, it’s exciting for us to do quite honestly. The festival was dynamic. There were different cultures. It was cool. I like what they had going on,” said Shannon Travis.
Laura McLeman, who walked to the festival from home with her family said, The music was not too loud or overbearing but gave the right atmosphere, the food vendors offered a lot of options, my 4-year-old loved all the bounce houses and she said it was nice seeing the local businesses take part in the festival. I wish we had this twice a month because I think it’s fun.”