Food truck festival debut draws unexpected crowds

When Shape Mandurah first started planning Mandurah’s first Food Truck Festival, they did not expect such a massive turnout.

Conceived as a way of activating the newly-landscaped Barracks Lane behind the Brighton Hotel to discourage anti-social behavior and bring the Mandurah community together, the festival launched on Tuesday night, with food trucks struggling to keep up with the hungry crowds.

One cupcake vendor sold out within 37 minutes.

Photo: Facebook.

Photo: Facebook.

“Obviously the food truck festivals are very much a happening thing, so we decided to have our own,” Shape Mandurah committee member Candice Di Prinzio said.

“I think there’s probably about 7-800 people here, it started at 5pm but people started rocking up at 4.30pm.”

She said they saw a gap in Mandurah for events during week nights that would bring residents together in a place that hadn’t been activated previously.

The event had a family-friendly food truck space with music and Human Foosball, and a gallery space for adults with a pop-up cocktail bar.

“It’s going to be held on the last Tuesday of every month, so this is the first of many,” Ms Di Prinzio said.

She said they hope to continue the events through winter, bringing in gas heaters and cover to keep punters dry and warm.

“I think next time we’ll double the amount of food trucks, and we’ve got a busking band here tonight, we’ll probably double that too,” she said.

When the idea was proposed, concerns that the trucks would take business away from nearby restaurants were raised, but while reviewing the event at council on Wednesday night, Mandurah councillor Peter Rogers said that in fact they’d had the opposite effect.

“The flow on effects of these events could be seen throughout the city.. I heard that Grill’d ran out of food,” Mr Rogers said.

“We have had a couple of the local restaurants say, why are you doing this, it’s hard enough as it is,” Ms Di Prinzio said.

“But we want it to be a starting place, and then people might go to the pub, or go get coffee, they might have an entree here and then go get dinner... it’s about activating Mandurah on those quieter nights, so we get people going through town then.”

She said local businesses were also welcome to come set up their own stalls at the event, and that vendors like Flic’s Kitchen and DPM had success doing so on Tuesday night. 

The next Food Truck Festival will be held on Tuesday, May 30.