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Carmichael Times

Food Truck Mania

Apr 23, 2024 03:23PM ● By Susan Maxwell Skinner, photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner
Gourmet burgers and desserts are among food truck menus during Carmichael’s “Park Rec and Eat It” nights out, on first Thursdays of every month. Enjoying festive fare are Carmichaelites Tyletta Campbell, Sharon Reneau and Jen Reneau.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Carmichael Park District recently celebrated the 12-year anniversary of an event whose success once seemed a long shot. Food Truck Mania has proven one of the district’s most popular programs.

Staged on the first Thursday of each month, the culinary meet is here to stay. “It’s a big draw for the community,” confirms Park recreation Services Manager, Alaina Loftus. “People bring chairs and just camp out for a night of friendly time and great food.”

Upwards of 400 people regularly queue to dine a la park beside Fair Oaks Boulevard. The next Food Truck Thursday is May 2.

Menus have expanded since the mobile kitchens’ 2012 debut. Food peddlers now vie to provide gourmet specialties. Burger and sandwich hybrids; Southern and Cajun cooking; Thai and Laotian dishes – all are available as meals on wheels. Desserts include cream and fruit-smothered waffles and ice cream sandwiches. Brewing cappuccinos and chic tea infusions, hawkers give nearby Starbucks a run for its mocha.

Carmichael was the first local park district to provide a venue for food truck events. Since, many others have jumped to the plate and the clientele is now as mobile as the eateries. The district partners with the Food in the Hood 916 to rally vendors.  Some foodies follow their favorite trucks from markets to college campuses and festivals all over Sacramento County.

On May 2, five trucks will provide menus ranging from Hawaiian fried chicken, Pilipino specialties, sandwiches, burgers, crepes, ice cream and shaved ice.

For the record, truck dining is not roach-coach cheap. Its popularity nevertheless reflects a rage to combine eating with hanging out in cool places. No one gripes about waiting – lining up is part of the social experience. Circling wagons at sunset in Carmichael Park, trucks serve from 5 p.m.

The boulevard’s frontage guarantees advertising. Tempted by a party atmosphere, homeward-bound workers and families park, queue, and saunter. “It’s like a carnival,” enthuses a regular customer. “Great company, a bunch of different food to try.”

Truck-events are planned through summer and fall. Carmichael Park concerts (May, June, September, and October) will include trucks. The vendors are also a pungent part of Sunday Farmers Markets in Carmichael.

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