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Keep on truckin’: Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival goes all local

When Food Truck Festivals of America started its company about seven years ago, its list of food trucks was eight.

Today it boasts 4,000 participating trucks.

The New Mexico Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival will be at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum grounds on March 30. (Courtesy of Food Truck Festivals Of America)

“The industry has just exploded, and I try to think, ‘What is it?’ ” said Janet Prensky of Food Truck Festivals of America. “I think people just love the casual aspect of dealing with a food truck and enjoying a food truck, and they also discover the food’s really good. You get the quality. You get that casual nature of it. You don’t have to make reservations. There’s no hostess to deal with, and I think another big point is when you go to a food truck rather than a restaurant, you’re actually meeting the chef. He’s handing you your food. There is something to be said for that, too – having the opportunity to talk to one these chefs and understand where they started. They’re always happy to chat, and I think there’s just an intimacy to the food truck world that you don’t find anywhere else.”

The food truck boom has also happened locally in the Albuquerque area. This is the first year that all the food trucks participating in the New Mexico Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival are from the Albuquerque area. The entertainment at the March 30 event is also local, with Reverend E and The Vagrants, Michael Moxey and the Easy Sinners, and Sourpuss taking the stage and the University of New Mexico Lobo Horn Club and UNM Health Sciences Center Orchestra roaming the grounds.

“It’s fantastic,” said Prensky, co-founder of the event. “It’s truly a celebration of the Albuquerque food truck theme this year. Often, I’ve had trucks that come from other areas. This year, we had such an outpouring from Albuquerque itself, and the food truck scene has grown so much. When I started, we could not have filled this festival with Albuquerque trucks. There weren’t enough. And now we’re holding them back, so it’s really exploded, and we’re thrilled to say all 25 trucks are local to Albuquerque.”

The festival also will feature craft beer from Albuquerque-area breweries, as well as beer from other breweries throughout the country and abroad. There will be some returning breweries as well as newcomers.

New this year is the VIB package.

“This year, we are introducing a VIB. You know how we’ve always had a VIP package – come early, you get a free dessert, you get free water, you don’t stand in line, get that special hour that we sell a small amount of tickets for from 11 (a.m.) to noon,” Prensky said. “I think people will love it because you get that chance to try three beers or three of same beer if you love a particular beer and you get that early access and you get that free dessert and, of course, you get that wonderful collectors item, a Food Trucks of America koozie. We throw that into the package, and it’s a really nice way to take advantage of the festival early and just enjoy yourself and spend the day.”

Food Trucks of America puts on more than a dozen festivals throughout the country every year.

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