ATLANTIC CITY — Something is special about ordering from a food truck.
Whether it’s a good, quick taco or some wings on-the-go, locals will get their chance to indulge this weekend at the second annual Atlantic City Food Truck Festival.
The free event brings together more than 20 food trucks from throughout the Northeast. More than 100 food eateries applied to come to the event, said B.J. Hamilton, owner of 609 Event Productions, event organizer.
Hamilton had the idea a couple years ago when he visited festivals in Monmouth Park in Oceanport, Monmouth County, and elsewhere in New Jersey. Hamilton wondered why there weren’t more similar festivals in Atlantic City and surrounding shore towns.
“We thought, ‘You know what? It’s time. Let’s see what it can do,’” said Hamilton, of Atlantic City.
Last year, Hamilton said, he had hoped the festival would attract 7,000 people.
After 20,000 people attended, he knew he was onto something. He expects another 20,000 this year.
The festival will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Brighton Park between the Claridge Hotel and the Boardwalk.
The festival benefits the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and ACVets.org.
“The food trucks, themselves, are such a draw, and we kind of build other elements to hold the people there,” Hamilton said. “Everything is food-related, and if the kids are happy, then parents hangout longer.”
And kids have a lot to do. The Atlantic City Aquarium will bring a touch tank, Home Depot will provide interactive workshops for kids and tailgating games and face painting are all on deck.
For the adults, there is a Titos Handmade Vodka RV, a Stella Artois trailer, a Beer and Spirits Garden and a “People’s Choice” food truck competition.
George Miller and his wife, Libby, co-own Five Sisters Food Company in Little Egg Harbor. They will be one of the trucks competing in the competition and hope their pork belly slider will take home the crown.
The slow-braised pork belly is cooked for six hours (confit style), and then glazed with teriyaki sauce.
The two, along with their daughters who assist inside the truck, hope they can take home the prize of $500. But they know they have some stiff (and delicious) competition.
“That’s the one nice thing with food truck shows is the blend of different types of food you want — and you can find it at any of these shows,” George Miller said.
Rita Presti, owner of I’ve Got Crabs… N Some, of Glassboro, said she knows many of the competitors and expects to enjoy a fun weekend.
“A lot of trucks and people that will be there — their food is great and we have high praise,” Presti said.
Presti plans to submit her crab cake for the festival. But whether its pork belly, crab cakes, or even plain burgers and dogs, the type of crowd the event attracts will be ready to eat anything and everything.
“Foodies” will be coming from all around the area, according to Kimberly Kocktail, who will help host the event. And she believes that this type of festival fits with Atlantic City — a resort with a big appetite.
“Foodies love food trucks. That’s a fact. It’s a nice change from the regular sit down meal in one place. This gives serious foodies a chance to try all kinds of food in one area. It’s essentially a foodie heaven,” she said.