By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — The meals on wheels are returning to Miami County.
Saturday, the Miami County Fairgrounds are hosting the second-annual Miami County Food Truck Competition and Rally. Despite poor weather for the inaugural event, hungry patrons turned out by the thousands. This year, the event is expected to grow even bigger.
Food trucks — which are the most recent incarnation of the mobile canteens that first rose to prominence in the late 1950s — have become the hottest trend in cuisine in the past decade. Most food experts attribute the resurgence of food trucks to a nunber of post-recession factors — namely, it’s a way for people to get what is often high-end food at a reasonable price.
While food trucks have risen to prominence in metropolitan areas in recent years, they’ve been branching out into the suburbs and rural areas of late … including, obviously, Miami County.
If you’ve never eaten food truck cuisine before, this is your chance. Here’s a list of reasons why you should attend Saturday’s Miami County Food Truck Competition and Rally:
• Variety: There will be more than 40 food trucks at this year’s rally, each offering different foods from breakfast to dessert.
For those of you who have grown accustomed to typical Midwestern fare, this is your chance to branch out and try any number of new ethnic and cultural cuisines, including Thai, Asian, Mexican, Korean and Hawaiian food.
For those with less adventurous palates, there also will be plenty of more familiar foods, including Philly steak sandwiches and barbecue.
What would a food truck rally be without fried foods. There will be everything from french fries to deep fried mushrooms and onion rings.
People with a sweet tooth will be able to sample desserts including waffles, cookies, cupcakes and ice cream.
This is your chance to sample all sorts of new foods without necessarily committing to an entire meal.
• Lack of pretention: Just because food is being served out of a truck, doesn’t mean it is not high-quality. Many top-notch, highly trained chefs will be at Saturday’s rally.
The lack of overhead costs — along with not having to worry about maintaining a full staff — in running a food truck as opposed to a traditional restaurant allows those manning the grills Saturday to truly focus in on presenting quality food for customers. Food comes first at a food truck rally.
This allows customers to enjoy high-end food without worrying about making reservations, getting dressed up and heading out to a restaurant. Come as you are to the Miami County Fairgrounds and enjoy the food being served up.
Also, with the lack of overhead costs, the food truck vendors are able to pass some of the savings along to the customers. In many cases, you can’t beat the prices at a food truck rally.
• It’s food AND fun: In addition to the food being served, there will be plenty of entertainment offered throughout the day, as well, beginning with the Troy Strawberry Festival’s Home.Grown.Talent. semi-finals at noon. DJ Bruce Adamson will offer music beginning at 3 p.m., followed by The American Kings, a classic ’50s-’60s band beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Miami Valley Kruzers car club will have a car show on the fairgrounds throughout the day, and arts and crafts and direct sales vendors will be set up in the Poultry building.
At 1 p.m., non-betting harness racing — practice for the horses and jockeys for the upcoming season — will be offered at the stadium. During the rally, the fairgrounds also will be host to both the Miami County Classic Wether Goat Show beginning at 9 a.m. and the Upper Valley Fiber Fest 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• It’s the American way: Food trucks truly are a piece of Americana.
Many culinary experts think the chuckwagons that roamed the West in the 1800s feeding hungry cowboys and ranchers were the precursor of the modern American food truck. In the 1950s, the aforementioned canteen trucks fed U.S. Army soldiers on stateside bases.
For many years in bigger cities, food trucks have fed workers at construction sites, factories and other blue-collar operations.
Truthfully, it’s almost your civic duty to attend this Saturday’s event.
Whatever reason you may choose to attend the food truck rally, be sure to do one thing — come on an empty stomach.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong
Given the high-volume crowds expected at this year’s event, chances are you will see someone you know. It’s an opportunity to go with a group of friends or reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in years.