The smell of food and the sounds of K-Dogg Acoustic greeted people exiting vehicles and making their way up Pleasant Avenue to the firehouse on a recent Wednesday night in Ilion.
Wednesdays are Food Truck Frenzy evenings and people don’t want to miss out on food, entertainment, and the chance to get together with neighbors and friends.
Herkimer’s Downtown Chowdown features similar sights and sounds on Mondays in Myers Park.
Food Truck Frenzy
In Ilion, signs remind those not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks, but otherwise the rally looks like a normal pre-pandemic rally.
âWe had huge, huge crowds,â said Jackie Moore, Ilion Village Activity Coordinator. She estimates that 2,500 people come each week to check out the offerings of some 14 food vendors offering a variety of foods, from hot dogs to ethnic specialties.
âI ate Korean food, my wife had a pancake,â said John Stephens of Ilion. âWe try to come every week. It’s a great event and there is great food.
Donna Gage said that she and her friend Kathy Castilla enjoy coming to the weekly event.
âIt’s good to get out of your house and come and listen to music,â she says.
The event gave 2-year-old Raiden Dundon, sitting in a red wagon, and his older brother a rare chance to hear their father sing, the boys’ mother Tamara Kolupa said. Kevin Dundon of K-Dogg Acoustics performed at the village bandstand.
âThey are excited,â Kolupa said. The location and time was perfect for the family. “We live about three minutes away.”
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Representatives of Catholic charities in Herkimer County were also on hand to provide information on the agency’s programs. âWe try to make sure people know we’re here to help,â said Catrina Noffer.
New this year, the Ilion event features seating inside the large pole barn at the Ilion Fire Field, according to Moore, but on a pleasant evening in June, patrons were bringing their meals and drinks to the lodge. one of the many picnic tables.
the Ilion Food Truck Frenzy, now in its third year, runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through September 1 at Firemen’s Field, 39 Pleasant Ave., Ilion. Several thematic events are planned, starting with Christmas in July on July 14.
the New Herkimer Downtown Chowdown, scheduled for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, had to be canceled two weeks in a row due to bad weather, but coordinator Dana Sherry said the first two weeks – the event started on May 31 – saw a âFabulous and formidable turnoutâ and, based on the social media posts, many are eager to come back.
The Chowdown started in mid-July last year and ran every other Monday until almost the end of October.
âIt was August before we could have live music,â Sherry said.
Even then, only one-time acts were allowed under the COVID-19 guidelines. But the weather was fine and people came.
This year there are some 14 food trucks and a few local restaurants have responded to an invitation to pitch tents to offer their selections. Enzo’s Pizza and Ristorante, BBQ Isle 2, K-Dogs BBQ, Bahama Mama, Teddy’s Gyros and Brewvey Bites were among the registered vendors for the June 28 event. Jon Liebing has to happen.
âThere was a lot of community support for it,â Sherry said.
The Frank J. Basloe Library plans to be at Chowdown when staff allow to offer information on upcoming events and a craft activity for kids, according to librarian Christine Fleischer.
Donna Thompson is The Times Telegram’s government and business reporter. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Email him at [email protected]