Mercer County in New Jersey held its second major food truck festival this month. On April 18 it was Food Truck Fiesta at Mercer County Park and this past weekend it was the 2nd annual Princeton TruckFest. Both events are part of a national food truck boom that has put gourmet food on the go.
To give you an idea of just how exotic things are getting on Saturday there were marshmallow doughnuts, colorful tacos and red velvet cupcakes. But what’s was also unique about this event was that buying food meant giving food in return.
All proceeds from TruckFest are supposed to go to the Send Hunger Packing Initiative and Meals on Wheels, nonprofits aligned against food insecurity in New Jersey.
Within minutes of the event’s opening at 2 p.m. on Saturday, lines started forming along Princeton’s Prospect Avenue (home of the university’s eating clubs). Over 1,500 people RSVP’d to the event on Facebook.
“We’re trying to emphasize that it’s a cause-driven event,” Princeton University student and CSICC spokeswoman Jennifer Liu said. The committee reached out to a range of food trucks based in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Liu said, providing a total of 11 trucks.
At TruckFest this year were: Underground Doughnuts, The Feed Truck, The Taco Truck, BrazBQ, Tico’s Eatery and Juice Truck, El Lechon de Negron, Buttercream Cupcake, Nina’s Waffles and Ice Cream, Kona Ice NJ, Bai5 juices and Mausam Curry and Bites.
This year, the CSICC added Meals on Wheels to its group of fund recipients after vetting the organization and visiting its distribution site.
“This is huge for us,” Executive Director of Meals on Wheels Sasa Olessi Montaño said, noting that it’s difficult to estimate how many funds are needed every year to help subsidize meals for those who can’t afford them.
“This has the potential to become a huge event.”
Business owners said they were very excited to participate in the event, since it contributes to a good cause and good publicity for all of Princeton. “It means a lot to support the local community,” Bai representative Patricia Schlaefer said. The antioxidant beverage company Bai was started from a Princeton basement six years ago, and has since gone national.
The Feed Truck, which served various fried egg sandwiches, french fries and assorted beverages, is run out of the United Methodist Church in nearby Kingston and donates to a different nonprofit every month. “We want to hang out with college students and be at college events,” Feed Truck representative Sara Tillema said. She added that a number of the company’s employees are students at the Princeton Theological Seminary.
Students at Saturday’s TruckFest said they were happy to support a cause bridging the University with the local community. Although this is only the event’s second year, organizers hope to make it an expanding Princeton tradition.