Crowds gather on Kansas Avenue for a Food Truck Saturdays event last summer. Food Truck Saturdays ended up being so successful for the community, it will be coming back for this summer. L&T file photo/Elly Grimm

ELLY GRIMM

• Leader & Times

 

Last summer saw people from Liberal and from out of town visit the Liberal community to try some delicious food and see some artisan vendors with the Food Truck Saturdays that took place.

Food Truck Saturdays ended up being so successful, it will be returning for this summer, and coordinator Amanda Devellen said she is very excited.

“We did get off to a bit of a slow start, so there is still some planning going on as far as the dates and locations, but we will be meeting in the next week or two to finalize all of that,” Devellen said. “We did put together the coordinating board, and the main discussion will be the when and where of everything. We're also looking for food trucks, vendors and entertainment to sign up, and we'll welcome any and all who are interested. Right now, the main focus is putting everything together and laying everything out. One thing we want to do is inspire better relationships with local businesses, whether it's through the entertainment or being a vendor or whatever. It's important to build those partnerships in order to help Food Truck Saturdays be big for the community and so everyone can have a fun time. I'm looking forward to getting people in Liberal and getting people to try all the food trucks in town, because all of them are really good. I also want to see people together and having fun enjoying the music and seeing children running around and playing. I'm wanting everyone to come out, have a great time and enjoy the food trucks and fellowship. I hope we see crowds like what we saw last year, and hopefully even bigger because again, this is truly something that's for the community to experience.”

With the popularity of last year’s festivities, Devellen said she hopes to see more food trucks and vendors from Liberal and the surrounding area for this year.

“I would encourage everyone to take part in this and just be part of something that's so big for the community. I already had vendors and food truck owners reach out to me before they even knew I was in charge or before it was officially decided Food Truck Saturdays would be coming back,” Devellen said. “They already had decided they wanted to be part of this again because they had done so well last summer and had a lot of customers, and I think that says a lot. All the food truck owners would need to do is just reach out. We're allowing everyone to be part of this, we're definitely not limiting or choosing who can participate, we want EVERYONE. We want the entire Liberal community and people from the surrounding area to come, set up, and be part of the fun. If you sell artisan items and want a booth, we will find a place for you to set up. If you have a food truck and want a space, we will find you a place. Again, we want EVERYONE. Last year, we saw a bunch of out-of-town food trucks come in and not as many local food trucks as we would have liked, but I would just encourage them to come and be part of this because the bigger we can make this, the better it will be for the community and for the vendors themselves. We'd love to see as many trucks as possible, so if anyone's interested, they can get in touch with me at (317) 496-8789 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They can also get in touch with us through our Facebook page, which is called Food Truck Saturdays Liberal, KS.”

Along with the food, Devellen said coordinators are also looking for entertainment acts.

“We're looking for mostly the same types of entertainment we had last year. We had some singers, we had some bands, we had some DJs, and there was also a little talent show, and everyone was really well received,” Devellen said. “We have new board members coming on, so I'll be interested to see what ideas everyone has with what we can do for entertainment. We'd love to see new acts, and as many acts as possible, so if anyone's interested, they can again get in touch with me at (317) 496-8789 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know.”

Overall, Devellen said, there is a lot of excitement about bringing Food Truck Saturdays back for another summer.

“Turnout was great last year, and there were big crowds each weekend, so it was something people definitely enjoyed. And with the way we scheduled it and spaced the weekends out, there wasn't really a risk of overexposure, and that made people excited to come back each time,” Devellen said. “There were so many great trucks people got to sample. It ended up being bigger than what we'd anticipated, and we were all really pleased with the results of everything. There were a few kinks that had to be ironed out, but we learned from them and we anticipate things going much smoother this time around. Food Truck Saturdays was so big for us last year, and it really helped Liberal, and I want to see the same thing happen this year. We're a smaller city, and this is a great way to bring people into town and try not only the food trucks, but also shop in our stores and possibly stay in our hotels. We brought in a lot of people last year, and I think continuing this event will help Liberal continue to grow and become a destination.”

With all of that in mind, Devellen said she and her board want Food Truck Saturdays to continue being an event for the entire community.

“This is a great chance to be part of the change we want to see in Liberal, and it's a great chance to support local businesses who are taking time out of their usual schedule to come and sell food and be part of this,” Devellen said. “Come out, be an encouragement for these people and be part of a big community event. We are also looking for more volunteers, so if there's anyone who wants to help us in that regard, please let us know and we'll put you to work – they would just need to get in touch with me and I'll see what we can do. And the more, the merrier, because it will help everything run smoothly. And since we're still in the early stages of planning, people can follow us on social media for updates, and that's when we'll share the schedule and let people know when and where everything will be.”

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