This particular festival had been almost an entire year in the making. A collaboration between the City of Somersworth, the Greater Somersworth Chamber of Commerce and Food Trucks Festivals of America. After many, many meetings that included everything from logistics to final preparations, the big day finally arrived.
I arrived at 10.45am and could be found at the junction of Constitutional Way and High Street where many who had purchased VIP tickets online for the event were also lined up. I took a few moments to walk down High street and take in a few of the sights and sounds that greeted me as I did so. High street was strangely quiet for someone who is used to standing outside and listening to the roar of wall to wall traffic rushing home from work each day. That Sunday there was no traffic allowed to pass high street between Constitutional Way and Prospect street and I have to say I really liked it.
Each side of High street was lined with food trucks selling well all kinds of foods. Some of which I was more familiar with than others. There was a myriad of aromas floating in the air by this time and all of them were delicious. Local brewery Bad Labs had a tent set up and ready to provide their own special brand of fun to festival goers. There was also another beer tent along the side of High street and I would later discover there was also one outside of the library.
Let’s Go This Show On The Road
Before I traveled too far though it was time to get the show on the road and let some people in. The appropriate blue ribbon was cut by Mayor Hilliard at just past 11 am and the festival was open to VIP visitors. It wasn’t long before High street began to flow with pedestrians as opposed to the normal cars. Like many I decided to walk around and see all that was on offer and there was a lot on offer food wise. Burgers, hotdogs, pies, mac ‘n cheese, came in all shapes and sizes that day.
For the next hour I traveled down High street and made the loop into Main street. I stopped for a minute and talked to City Manager Bob Belmore who was busy at the Service Credit Union booth collecting a festival tee shirt. Service Credit Union were one of the main sponsors for the event and went above and beyond in their effort to make festival goers happy. On offer were free fidget spinners, festival tee shirts and more besides.
By the time I finally decided what I was going to eat the main gates had been opened. In all honesty it was like the floodgates had been opened after a major rain storm in June. As I walked back up High street was literally awash with people.
Lines had begun to form outside each of the trucks and were getting longer by the minute. One thing that was evident as I walked around was the amount of strollers in the mix. This was definitely a family friendly event but it was more than that for many. I personally ran into so many people that day that I had not seen for a long time. All expressed how happy they were to see so many people in downtown Somersworth.
I made my way to Northeast Pies truck as they are based in Gonic during the Summer months and I had heard nothing but good things about their eats. About 25 minutes later I was chowing down on a fabulous chicken pot pie and a side of chips. I’d give my choice of lunch three thumbs up if I had three thumbs. The pie was delicious not to mention filling.
Of course once lunch is done the proper thing to do is find a suitable dessert. As I had a VIP ticket this was an easy choice as a dessert from Clyde’s Cupcakes of Exeter was included in the price. I elected to try the chocolate brownie and it too was good.
Drink And Be Happy!
Another perk of the VIP ticket was unlimited soft drinks all day. It was a perk I would be grateful for as sun began to heat up the tarmac. Now I don’t drink alcohol, just not my thing, but I caught up with a few people that really enjoyed the choices that were offered. The one complaint I received was by then the lines at the beer tents were long. Just in case your wondering, tickets could be purchased for beer at each of the three gates and after showing your ID you received a stamp. Honestly, I’m glad I don’t drink as the lines for the soft drinks were much shorter by then.
By 2pm the crowd was beginning to thin a little but the heat was still on. I took some time to talk to Tiffany of Bad Labs Brewery at this point. It was then I discovered that they had helped avert what could have been a bad situation. The number of festival goers far surpassed the projected numbers as had been evident to my own eyes. Only so much beer had been ordered and there was a real possibility that the tents would run dry. If you’ve ever brought beer wholesale you know that you can only buy from your distributor and most if any are not available at the weekends. You run out, oh well what are you going to do. In this case call Bad Labs, who as a local producer saved the day. They ran back to the brewery and grabbed 2 more barrels and all that wanted beer were happily supplied. There is something to be said for being local after all! In total they served up somewhere in the order of 6 barrels of beer to festival goers and that, my friends, is a lot of beer!
Oh, I almost forgot I did eat something else as I was getting peckish again by 3pm. I made my way to the stage area because one of my favorite local bands were playing, Acoustic Radio. I also noticed that Somersworth House of Pizza had a booth set up on the street and had heard they were launching a new item that day, Pork Giro’s and I’m a sucker for Giro. They did not disappoint at all.
That’s A Wrap…
Everyone I spoke to said the really enjoyed the day overall. It was hot and humid, but that is New England in June after all and beat the alternative for sure. I personally can’t recall the last time I saw that many people on the streets of downtown Somersworth.
It is estimated that between 10 and 15,000 people came to the city on that one Sunday. Were there minor problems, were the lines long at times, were there things that could have been done better, of course! Consider this for a second though before you complain. This was a huge undertaking, required an army of volunteers to make happen and the weather to cooperate, add in that this was the first one, and overall those who put the event together did a wonderful job. I can’t wait till next year to go again and by then all of the kinks will have been worked out and I hope that you will join me!