PLYMOUTH — While unable to host their beloved country fair this summer due to the pandemic, the Terryville Lions Club put together a different kind of event this past weekend.
The first-ever Drive-thru Food Truck Festival took place on the Terryville Fairgrounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“We at least have something to offer people,” Terryville Fair President Steve Daigle said Sunday, as food trucks and volunteers served a leisurely afternoon crowd of hungry patrons.
As people arrived on site, they received a food order ticket through their car window at the gates. On it they checked off desired edibles from any of the nine vendors, offering all their favorite fair foods, from griddled meats on a stick to loaded French fries and fried dough with all the fixings.
They paid by credit card and then were directed to a parking space to wait for volunteers to bring over their orders. The whole system was socially-distanced and contactless to ensure the safety of volunteers and patrons alike.
“It’s fantastic,” David Loturco said, enjoying a frozen lemonade in the front seat of his family’s car.
“It’s very well organized,” his dad Joe Loturco added. “We wanted to support the club. We usually come to the fair and their Volkswagen show.”
“We’re glad they could still do something,” Vicki Loturco, David’s mom, added.
Tailgating outside their car across the field was another Plymouth family — Brian and April Romano and their kids.
“This is a great alternative to missing the fair,” Brian pointed out.
“It’s wonderful,” April chimed in. “We’re happy to support the Terryville Lions’ charitable causes and local businesses that are really hurting this year.”
Dolly’s Dogs ‘n’ Tots is one of those local, family-run businesses.
“This is our only source of income right so we’re out here working and bringing back revenue to the Terryville Fair as well,” said cook and owner Dawn Merli.
“We’re all trying to survive this pandemic,” she added of food truck owners, lined up along the main road across the fairgrounds.
John Dunphy was working out of his family’s lemonade truck.
“My parents and I are trying to get to the point where we can pay off our truck by the end of this year or at least by next year,” he said.
Since the Terryville Fair did not take place this year, the Lions club was able to accomplish some work at the fairgrounds in preparation for future events.
“We started making improvements in April,” Daigle said. “We hope by 2021 people won’t even recognize this place.”
The team is in the process of moving electrical infrastructure underground. Bleachers were brought up to code and there are two new roads on-site.
Club members also distributed food to over 1,500 families in need recently and plan on doing another food distribution this September.
The drive-thru food truck festival was organized by Frank Flood, a volunteer with Core Events who is putting together similar festivals in Goshen and other towns later this season.
“This is our 14th event,” Flood said. “It’s something to fill in the gap. It helps these clubs pay their property costs while there’s no fairs going on.”
His family has had a relationship with the Terryville Lions Club for over 60 years, and no pandemic is going to keep them from helping each other.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com