The 2023 Food Truck Rally is scheduled for June 10. Pictured is a scene from a previous event.

The 2023 Food Truck Rally is scheduled for June 10. Pictured is a scene from a previous event.

Photo provided by Emma Zerkel

Food truck rally headed to Orchard Mall

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 5, 2023


WEST BLOOMFIELD — Food, fun and the opportunity to mingle with some neighbors are on the menu this Saturday.

The 2023 Food Truck Rally is scheduled to take place 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. June 10 at Orchard Mall, located at 6337 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield.

It is the fourth year of the family-friendly event, with live music, free bounce houses, free face painting, a beer and wine tent, a dunk tank, food trucks, and dining areas all set to be part of the festivities.

The cost to attend is $5 for families, and $1 extra for guests of attendees.

All proceeds raised at the event are slated to support youth assistance programs in the area.

West Bloomfield Youth Assistance is a nonprofit organization that offers professional counseling services and conducts prevention programs for youth and their families who live within the West Bloomfield School District.

West Bloomfield Police Department Deputy Chief Curt Lawson serves as a secretary for West Bloomfield Youth Assistance.

“The purpose of the Food Truck Rally is to bring awareness to West Bloomfield Youth Assistance and all the great things that it does in collaboration with the school district and the community to help kids 17 and younger throughout the community,” Lawson said. “This is the first year of the four years that we’ve done this that we’re beginning earlier in the day. Usually, we begin at 3 or 4 o’clock, but this year we wanted to get the lunch crowd as well and just make it a whole-day event.”

According to Emma Zerkel, who is the treasurer and chairperson for the event, 20 food trucks are lined up for the rally.

Birmingham Youth Assistance and Bloomfield Youth Assistance are set to help out, as funds raised also benefit their programs.

“It’s such a great day to see all these people come out for a positive experience with no hidden agenda,” Zerkel said. “We’re there to raise funds for our youth. … We’ve had upwards of 5,000 people, averaging around 3,000 people, coming to the event. So, everybody gets to catch up with their neighbors.”

West Bloomfield Township Clerk Debbie Binder, who is a board member and volunteer for WBYA, believes that the nonprofit helps get kids on the “right track.”

She spoke about the rally at a West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting.

“One of the nice things about this event is the awareness that it brings to youth assistance that a lot of people in the community don’t know,” Binder said. “I think our effectiveness has been proven, and I think that’s what’s really nice about this food truck rally. If maybe a handful of people knew about us before, there are a lot more that, due to the food truck rally, are aware of the resources that youth assistance provides and offers.”

West Bloomfield Township Treasurer Teri Weingarden also addressed the food truck rally at the meeting.

“This is such a fun event,” she said. “It’s a really fun family event.”

Lawson referred to the combination of a good time and a worthy cause as “outstanding.”

“That’s what makes West Bloomfield so special,” he said. “We see people that return year after year, so I think whatever we’re doing, we’re doing it right. We’ve got some ingredients that we’re using to put this event on, and it seems to be working. We’re fine-tuning it as we go, but we’re excited for this year.”

From Lawson’s perspective, the event is a win-win for all involved.

“I think what makes West Bloomfield so unique is that you have a very culturally diverse community. Everyone seems to get along very well, and they enjoy events like this where they can come together,” he said. “We see it time and time again, whether it’s the art fair, or we have Juneteenth coming up, where we see a lot of different members within the community coming together, spending time together, and enjoying a well-run event.”

Lawson said that the event is set to take place rain or shine, but he added that a tent is available in the event that it rains.

As far as Zerkel is concerned, West Bloomfield Youth Assistance is a hidden gem in the community.

“Money raised allows us to send kids and families to get counseling when they need it, which is critical to help intervene with a whole family before the child ends up making choices that will impact their entire future negatively,” she said.

Those who are interested in volunteering can sign up by visiting