BRISTOL - Truffle macaroni and cheese, fried brownies, smoked bacon candy and steamed cheeseburgers were just the beginning of the Acker family’s feast Sunday.
Plymouth residents Rick and Vickie Acker and their kids, Ashleigh, 15, and Sean, 11, ate through the Bristol Blues’ Food Truck Festival. The family worked up their appetites on Saturday by running a 5K race together.
Over 30 food trucks and artisan booths lined the perimeter of Muzzy Field for the first-ever festival, which took place both Saturday and Sunday.
“The food is excellent,” said Vickie Acker. “We love to eat.”
Bristol Blues General Manager Ed Swicklas, his son Adam and Blues owner Elliot Scheiner served up beer behind the only adult beverage booth stationed on the field.
“We’ve had a nice steady crowd,” Swicklas said Sunday. “I think people are enjoying it. We’re trying to do some community outreach.”
It may have been the stadium’s only big food gathering in recent memory, but not the very first held there, according to Swicklas.
“Back in the 1920s and 30s they used to do a sheep bake here,” he pointed out.
Blues staff worked with the locally-owned Northeast Food Truck Festivals of New England to put on the weekend’s event. Partners Alicia DaPonte and Matthew Soulier hailed from Terryville and Bristol, respectively.
“It’s nice to do this in our hometown,” DaPonte said. “The Blues have been fantastic; they’ve really supported us and we’ve supported them. There really hasn’t been anything of this caliber in this town and it’s bringing a lot of people here, which is a good thing,” she added.
Admission was free, making it nearly impossible to get a count of people who came through the gates, but DaPonte said that 11,000 Facebook users planned to attend the week before.
As seasoned food truck feasters, New Britain residents Marc Sansone and Alisa Camarata calculated their rounds carefully.
“We go to a lot of these,” Camarata explained. “We’re walking around and staking out the options and then we’ll go back and start making some decisions. There’s so much to choose from.”
The variety of selections was extensive, from the very indulgent to the more nutritious.
“It’s not all fried; there’s a lot of healthy, good food here,” said Marguerite Case, who owns Plymouth Kettle Corn in Thomaston.
She and her husband Peter put their store on wheels for the weekend, offering their flavored popcorns to festival-goers from inside a food truck. A caveat on the menu read, “Warning: Contents may be habit forming.”
Coffee and smoothies from Maui Wowi Hawaiian Franchise also fueled the crowd, with Canton resident Chuck Simmons behind this counter.
“Our smoothies are made fresh with real fruit,” he told curious visitors to his booth. “We also do a luau pulled pork sandwich with a Cajun coleslaw.”
Some vendors came from out of state to take part. That included Tony Carlotto and Darby Wiegel, who drove 55 miles from Rolling Rock Farm in Sheffield, Mass. to sell their flavored sea salts at the festival.
“We love it here; what a great venue,” Carlotto said. “It’s a really good event.”
Pork Friends & Company, a fairly new business enterprise started last October by a Meriden family, offered Latin fusion cuisine. Co-owner Javier Gonzalez enjoyed the festive atmosphere while cooking up empanadas and carnitas.
“It’s a fun family environment,” he said. “Beers and food - it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.