The Manayunk Development Corporation is cooking up a new festival this fall that’s bound to impress your taste buds.
The first StrEAT Food Festival, a day of food trucks, music and sales at shops along Main Street, is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 29. The event will serve as the kick-off for Manayunk’s Restaurant Week, the dates of which were recently changed to Sept. 30 through Oct. 5., which coincide with one of Center City’s two Restaurant Weeks. Organizers for the Center City event pushed all dates back due to the Yom Kippur holiday on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The StrEAT Food Festival will kick off at 10 a.m. and run through 5 p.m. that Saturday. Food trucks from across the city will line Main Street to offer individual items at the set rates of $3 to $5.
The event will replace Manayunk’s Eco Arts Festival, which was a two-day festival that showcased environmentally-friendly art along Main Street. That festival ran for two years in Manayunk.
Caitlin Maloney, marketing and events coordinator for the Manayunk Development Corporation, said it was a decision made by the Manayunk Development Corporation’s board to create something more sustainable.
“We do our other arts festival in June and we have always wanted to do a food festival,” she said. “This is a better fit for the time of year and it’s something we think would progress in the future.”
She added that the event is a “natural fit” for the area, saying it’s a chance to highlight the abundance of restaurants in Manayunk.
An emphasis on apples
And the addition of food trucks offers a unique twist for residents to sample new types of food.
“A lot of food trucks don’t have the permits [for Manayunk streets], so they don’t reach Manayunk. It was an easy way to bring them to Manayunk while highlighting Manayunk’s restaurants,” said Maloney. Many restaurants during the following week will be offering three course meals for three fixed prices of $10, $20, and $30, similar to Center City’s pricing.
The entire event is apple-themed, with the fruit being an ingredient necessary in all the food vendor’s menus that day. Maloney said the food trucks and restaurants “all will be making some item with apples in it. This carries a bit over into the Restaurant Week with some restaurants featuring apple desserts,” she said.
A lot of the vendors that participate in night markets will be joining the festival, said Maloney. Currently, 15 food trucks are signed up, with the goal being 20. Applications are still being accepted from interested vendors.
Participating food vendors include:
Kung Fu Hoagies
New Hope Premium Fountain
Sweet Box Cupcakes
The Dapper Dog
Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream Truck
Farmer’s markets and music
Farmer’s markets will also be set up in two parking lots along Main Street. The vendors will bring fresh produce, cheese, spices, and chocolates from the suburbs. Additionally, the market will feature arts and crafts with a food theme to them, including an artist who makes jewelry from fruit. Maloney said it was important to include the market so visitors could bring items home. “Part of the idea behind the market is that with food trucks, you get it and eat there, but a lot of times our visitors want to take something home,” she said.
Feedback from the community has been positive according to Maloney. “A lot of people have been emailing, calling, and inquiring throughout the summer. Some suggested having a food related event before they knew it was already in the works,” she said. Bringing the food trucks to Manayunk will be the first time some residents have eaten from the participating vendors. She said that the Center City food carts “don’t set up on weekends. If you live and work in Manayunk, you never get to experience those,” said Maloney.
Main Street will remain open to traffic throughout the event. Retailers plan to offer sidewalk seating and some will be decorating windows in the event’s apple theme. Visitors will be given a map of a walking tour to all the participating food and retail merchants. Cotton Street is the center for music that day and will also have plenty of seating.
Dozens of reasonably priced and varied food choices all on one street? Yes, your stomach and wallet will thank you.