Visitors and vendors said the same four words — or variations of which — about the Street Eats Festival happening this week.
“It brings people together.”
That, it seems, is key to the event, located on Steele Street between Front Street and Second Avenue, with southern barbecue, Indian food, grilled cheese and other delectable fare in the mix, too.
“It feels like community to me,” said Jasmine Roush, owner of The Coffee Bar, which makes, in the opinion of this reporter, one of the best Americanos in the city — nice crema.
It’s the fourth time the festival has happened and the largest to date, said Greg Stone, economic development coordinator with the City of Whitehorse.
There are two new vendors this year — Roush’s coffee truck; Daat Indian Cuisine now serves wraps and smoothies from a second lunch wagon. This brings the total number up to 13.
“The city has been working really hard to help food vendors grow the sector,” Stone said.
Also new is the fact the city wants to hit zero waste.
“All the vendors are required to have compostable food containers and cutlery,” he said. “Some of the feedback we’ve got in the past is food trucks and food truck festivals are amazing, but when you look at the garbage cans afterwards you start questioning how can we make this better.”
Speaking about the festival and Whitehorse’s food truck scene in general, Roush said it reminds her of the “old Yukon.”
“Before the Yukon was so easy and accessible, everybody really looked out for each other. Surviving a winter was, like, a big thing. I’m not trying to put it at that level, but the support feels the same. If you run out of something, you’re not gonna be left high and dry.”
Resident Don Ellis was eating curry from Daat Indian Cuisine when he said the most heard comment on the first day of the festival (Aug. 12.)
“It adds to the community, brings people together, people talk when they maybe otherwise wouldn’t,” he said.
It was Anna Volkova’s first time at the event, her first time eating food from a food truck, she said.
“You don’t have to go around the whole city. It’s cozy here. I feel like I’m in a bigger city now.
“There’s not many things happening in Whitehorse, so I think anything that gathers people together is good.”
Ray Magnuson, founder of a Smoke & Sow, which serves up southern-styled barbecue, was sold out in the early afternoon.
“We love this festival. We were here last year. It was no joke. We figured out pretty quick that it’s a pretty popular one. It brings all the people together. It’s a good atmosphere.”
The event is a boon for his business.
“It’s the busiest I’ll be all year,” Magnuson said.
His truck can be found at Rotary Park Tuesday through Saturday.
“Nothing like this,” he said. “We’re not selling out double the meat that we do normally, selling out in about an hour.”
Sixteen-hour coffee rubbed beef short ribs, coined “Dino Bones,” are popular fare.
“We only have 16 of those a day, so if you want them, you gotta get down here quick,” Magnuson said.
Barbecued beef brisket is also what the people want.
“It’s our number one seller. Always has been.”
The festival runs until Aug. 16 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“It’s something to do, something to see, try something different, because not everybody is gonna get out and try all this food, so this gives them an opportunity to seem ‘em all,” Magnuson said.
Contact Julien Gignac at email@example.com