Customers line up for the Imperial House food truck in downtown Utica during last year’s food truck rally.

Customers line up for the Imperial House food truck in downtown Utica during last year’s food truck rally.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

Utica’s food truck rally to return

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 11, 2018

UTICA — The city of Utica will host a food truck rally for the second year in a row from 5 to 10 p.m. June 16 in the Utica Public Library parking lot, 7530 Auburn Road, and in Memorial Park located next to it.

During last year’s event, Mayor Thom Dionne said it was “an overwhelming success.”

Now in its second year, the rally is expected to grow.

“This is the second year that we’ve been doing the food truck rallies. Last year we planned three; however, one date was rained out. So, this year we are doing five. I saw the draw that other communities were experiencing with the food track rallies and wanted to see if Utica could attract similar crowds. We have had very successful turnouts thus far, and as long as the crowds keep coming, we will keep hosting,” said Dionne.

The event will feature 10 food trucks and live entertainment from guitarist Cliff Erickson and Mike Tocco Music in Memorial Park and Jacqueline K. Noonan Riverwalk Park.

The mayor is encouraging attendees to bring their coolers, lawn chairs and friends to the event in downtown Utica.

Mike Tocco Music will be performing from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tocco is a local talent whose music ranges from Al Green to John Mayer.

Cliff Erickson will be the headliner and will perform from 7:30 to 9 p.m. He is a well-known guitarist in the Midwest from Detroit and has performed with everyone from local artists to a list of megastars. Erickson has a big following in the metro Detroit area.

The event will occur the day after the weekly Weekend Unwind event that the city is hosting every Friday night until September.

A variety of food trucks are scheduled to be at the event for attendees to pick their desired food and enjoy an evening of music. There will be vegan options for those who would like to purchase vegan cuisine.

A few food trucks that are scheduled to be at the event include the Mean Weenie, Impasto, Motor City Road Wings, Buck-N-Dink’s BBQ Food Truck, Crepe Day-Twah, Treat Dreams, Polish Mania Warsaw Cuisine, Sweetwater Tavern, the Nosh Pit Detroit and the Imperial House.

“We are excited to be part of the Utica food truck rally. We were personally invited by Mayor Thom for our healthy vegan, gluten and vegetarian options for the attendees. Last year, we absolutely loved the crowds, the music and serving up our delicious food from our little green truck,” said Karen Schultz, owner of the Nosh Pit Detroit, via email.

The city began the food truck rally last year to bring the community a small-town connection with a variety of choices in events.

“As a member of the (Downtown Development Authority) and City Council, I am an advocate for events that are new and create connectivity amongst Utica residents. As a group, we, the DDA, allocated $15,000 to summer events this year. With the growing interest in food truck rallies, I suggested to City Council and the DDA that a fee be separately assessed for a portion of the gross proceeds of the food truck participants. This is separate from the application vendor fee. As a councilman, I’m committed to building a budget surplus that can be used for infrastructure improvements and various repairs in our current city parks,” said Frank Czapski via email.

For more information about the event, visit the city of Utica Facebook page.