From tacos and teriyaki to cannolis and cupcakes, this year’s New Hampshire Food Truck Festival will have all kinds of mobile fare. The third annual event takes place Sunday, Oct. 2, from noon to 6 p.m. at Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth and will feature more than 20 of New England’s best food trucks.
Janet Prensky, spokesperson for Food Truck Festivals of America, the Massachusetts-based organization that puts on the festival, said it has been gaining popularity every year and doesn’t show signs of stopping.
“Back in the day, there was a stigma around food truck foods because they weren’t the gourmet products that they are today,” she said. “Now it’s popular, and I think when we started we weren’t sure if it was a trend or just a fad, but we realize now that it’s a trend that’s here to stay.”
The lineup of participating food trucks includes local favorites like Gabi’s Smoke Stack of Londonderry and Clyde’s Cupcakes of Exeter, as well as new and well-known brands coming from Vermont, Boston and the greater Boston area, so New Hampshire festival goers will have a unique opportunity to try foods that they wouldn’t normally have access to without traveling.
A wide variety of foods will be represented, including festival staples like burgers, barbecue, tacos, hot dogs, pizza and sandwiches; authentic ethnic cuisines such as Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean; and sweet treats like cannolis, cupcakes, cookies and whoopie pies.
“We try to mix it up so when you come, you can taste and graze from different cuisines and get a sense of all the types of food you can get from a food truck,” Prensky said.
Interspersed among the trucks will be beverage stations with Redhook Brewery craft beers and ales available for purchase. There will be face-painting and activities for kids, music and lawn games like giant Jenga and cornhole. People are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets and spend the whole day at the festival.
The laid-back atmosphere and the casual nature of food truck dining in general, Prensky said, are main reasons the festival has gotten so popular. People don’t have to worry about dressing up, making reservations, tipping a server and everything else that comes with eating at a restaurant. And, unlike most restaurants, food trucks give customers an opportunity to meet and interact with the chef since he or she is often serving the food or at least in eyesight of the customers.
Prensky has one piece of advice about how to make the most of the festival: “I always tell people, wear elastic pants. Leave the diet at home. Everything you think you shouldn’t have, go ahead and have it,” she said. “It’s not a day to be careful about what you eat. It’s a day to have fun and enjoy yourself.”