SPRINGFIELD TWP. The lakefront at Springfield Lake was densely packed with area residents seeking food and fun Aug. 26 for the first Food Truck Festival.
People came from Springfield, Lakemore and surrounding communities to taste a variety of food, listen to music and enjoy the beautiful day at the lake. Firefighter/paramedic Mike Marias, who coordinated the event, said the crowd topped out at well more than 3,000. He said it was a huge success and officials are definitely planning to bring the event back next year.
"As I was walking the crowd, I talked to many different people and they all absolutely loved the event," Marias said. "We really couldn’t have asked for better weather; it was the perfect day.
The Lemmon family from Ellet were among the visitors. They said the weather was nice and there was plenty of food to choose from, good music and a beautiful setting.
Food trucks are not commonly found in the township, so the festival gave visitors a chance to check out what the food truck scene is about.
Brian and Faith McNutt, owners and operators of Wanna Get Stuffed food truck, said the event was very well received and that there was a nice flow of traffic all day. Faith said a lot of people were very excited about the event and were looking forward to next year.
She added that some people said they were sad that it was only a one-day event. The McNutt's said the lake is beautiful and they were happy the weather was great.
Firefighter/paramedic Bruce George, a township resident who has a background in music, organized the entertainment. George is a Springfield alum who was a percussionist in the Springfield band. He also is the originator of the Third Alarm Band, which performed at the event. Members of the band are Springfield alumni. Also performing was JT Teis, an interactive solo artist that is a Portage Lakes staple and will be opened the day with an acoustic set. He is known as a "walking Jukebox".
"The music was amazing," said Marias. "JT did a fantastic job and many people really enjoyed his acoustic set. The Third Alarm Band knocked it out of the park. Everyone I talked to was amazed at how good they were, especially after learning that they formed this group specifically for our event, and had only been practicing for approximately two months together."
Marias said those in attendance were asking where Third Alarm would be playing next and if they had CDs.
Springfield Schools Superintendent Chuck Sincere and wife, Julie, attended the event and said it was a great activity.
"I am excited about this event and hope we can continue it. It is great for the community," Sincere said.
Food vendors offered a variety of tastes from alligator bites to stuffed funnel cakes. There was something tasty for everyone attending, including Akron staple Swenson's. Also, craft brewers were on hand to quench the thirst. Marias said the food trucks had plenty of variety for everyone and the Sibling Revelry Brewing Company had a variety of ice cold and refreshing beer that fit perfectly on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Marias thanked the Springfield High School sports and band boosters who volunteered their time to help sell beer tickets and pour beer; community volunteers; Doug Foltz and the Parks Department for helping out; and the fire and police departments. The boosters will receive a donation of approximately $1,500 from the event.
"We were able to have a fun safe event that everyone of all ages could enjoy," Marias said.