VALDOSTA — It was hot, humid and there was even a light thunderstorm.
Yet a crowd of people clumped together on Lee Street to eat a variety of meals delivered to them by food trucks.
Valdosta Main Street held its first-ever Food Truck Thursday June 20 with shaved ice, hibachi plates, tacos and frozen yogurt available for purchase.
“It’s on the dot 5:30 p.m., and we have a crowd,” said Ellen Hill, Valdosta Main Street director. “We’re very excited and hoping a lot more people come out and this event will only grow throughout the summer and fall. We want it to be something that is really positive for downtown.”
That was only the beginning.
Thirty minutes later, the crowd grew, lengthening lines and giving these food trucks, which included Big Nick’s and Hibachi Highway, much more business than anticipated.
Valdosta local Tania Vauzo, who arrived early and was able to snag a seat from the tented area set up nearby, said she stopped by because the event presented something new for Downtown Valdosta.
“It was exciting, something different,” Vauzo said. “It just gives us a variety of things to do downtown.”
Even the food truck owners were excited to be out together, including Kona Ice of Lowndes' Russ Hassenstab.
Residents have most likely seen his truck around town, in store parking lots or at school events. However, this is the first time he has brought his mobile site to a food truck-specific event such as Food Truck Thursday.
“We’ve been trying to do this for about two years, and Valdosta Main Street has finally gotten together to where we can actually have our first event together,” Hassenstab said. “It gives people the option to go downtown and be able to taste all the different foods that are available.”
Hill said Valdosta Main Street has future Food Truck Thursday events slated until October for now.
It will be the third Thursday of July, August, September and October, and organizers will try featuring different and possibly even more food trucks each month, along with music from Goodtime Jr. Music Shed and other activities such as cornhole and a kid’s bounce house.
If the event continues past the scheduled dates, well, that depends if the people want it, Hill said.
What did you think of Food Truck Thursday?
“If this is something the public wants to continue, we’ll continue it,” Hill said. “We’re open to growing it more and adding more dates. We want to do what everybody wants to do.”
From the sight of its first event, it looks like Food Truck Thursday could become a staple of Downtown Valdosta.
Katelyn Umholtz is a reporter with the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be contacted at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256.