More than 35 food trucks roll into West Chester today

Thousands are expected to line-up and crowd the streets to celebrate food, music and giving back to the community as part of the third annual Union Centre Food Truck Rally, which is set for today, Aug. 14, from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Organized by the Union Centre Boulevard Merchant Association (UCBMA), the rally will include more than 35 gourmet food trucks as well as beer and wine.

The event will also feature live music, including a performance by Chuck Evans from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; 3 Day Rule from 5 to 7 p.m.; and DV8 from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Fireworks will start around 10 p.m.

“Last year, it was our second annual event and we had 23 trucks,” said Rebecca Wilber, president of Union Centre Boulevard Merchant Association. “This year, we expect to have 36 trucks, and a portion of this year’s proceeds will go to Reach Out Lakota, our local food bank. Last year we had 5,000 guests. This year, we expect 7,000 to 10,000 guests.”

Wilber said she’s excited to see the event grow. It continues to attract thousands of visitors from all over the Tri-State. She noted there’s already a waiting list of trucks that would like to participate next year.

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“Guests keep coming back, because it’s great food, and it’s an awesome event for families. We find that people come for lunch, and then they come back for dinner, because the food’s so different, and new to them,” Wilber said.

Food items range from barbecue and eclectic and stone-fired pizzas to gourmet grilled cheese, ice cream and so much more.

“There’s pretty much anything you could imagine, or dream of food-wise. There are flavors of foods from all around the world,” Wilber said.

By participating, residents will have an opportunity to support Reach Out Lakota, to see and visit with their friends, and to try something new.

“We would like to donate at least $10,000 to Reach Out Lakota. The community has been very supportive of all the events that our organization has ever done, not only in volunteering, but by providing financial support,” Wilber said.

“Many of these food trucks are coming from outside of the Cincinnati area – from Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. We have people coming from a very wide area, and I know people from West Chester are proud to show off our community. People are coming back year after year, engaging through social media, and the excitement has been phenomenal.”

UCBMA will be part of After-Hours on The Square @ Union Centre to kick-off the event Thursday, Aug. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by 17th Floor and several food trucks will be on hand to present a preview.

“It’s a great activity down on The Square @ Union Centre,” said Barb Wilson, spokeswoman for West Chester Twp. “It’s different, and the food trucks are unique, which is attractive as a community event.”

She said guests have embraced the different flavors and menu items offered on each food truck.

“It’s an all-day celebration of food. The trucks have been really excited about coming down. It’s not your old-fashioned food truck that we used to think of. These are exceptional, gourmet offerings that these food trucks bring,” Wilson said.

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