Milford Food Truck and Arts Festival draws crowds

Rene Minnocci has her hand painted at the event.

Rene Minnocci has her hand painted at the event.

The Milford Food Truck and Arts Festival marked its fourth anniversary by extending the popular event an additional day, allowing residents three full days to enjoy the festivities.

This family and pet friendly event, held at Eisenhower Park, featured more than 100 vendors, over 20 food trucks, a beer tent and numerous kid friendly activities including magic shows, face painting and rides aboard the Roaming Railroad.

“Every year we try to just put on a fun event for residents,” explained Rob Craven, event founder and chairperson. “We also hold it to help the vendors, we have a lot of vendors here, arts vendors, food trucks, and a lot of them are from Milford. It’s a fun way to use the park, we have it once a year around Memorial Day, we have free face painting for the kids and magic shows, it’s a family fun event we put together.”

“This is a family based event for the community of Milford, the goal is to have families come out and have a great time, and enjoy the weather,” said Jill Perez of the Connecticut Events Company. “Rob started the show and I own a couple of the food trucks so we got together and have built it bigger and bigger each year. With my trucks we do events all over the state but I live near Milford so we thought it would be fun to do an event in Milford.”

Participants in this open air artisan market included Dash N Drizzle, who offered tastings “of our 12 newest varietals.” The Asylum Distillery in Bridgeport also participated. “We were here last year, we make a bunch of local products in Bridgeport made from Connecticut-grown non-GMO corn,” said Neil Doocy, Co-Founder and Owner of Asylum Distillery. “We make whiskeys, gin and a couple vodkas. We like to be able to reach a new audience and this is a great opportunity to reach a wide variety of people and be where people are thinking about food and drinking and it’s also fun to see all the crafts. We are very focused on being a local product and offer tours of the facility on weekends with education being our focus.”

Arthur Williams of Asylum Distillery explained, “Our goal with participating is to try to reach out to more people and to show them our product and to get them excited about eating and drinking out locally with product’s made from local ingredients.”

“It’s a great event here at Eisenhower Park, it’s the second year I’ve been here and it always goes well, there’s lots of great food around and we have a lot of people come down,” explained operator Dan Decosmo of the Roaming Railroad. “The train is a great little addition to the event. We tour around the whole thing and you get a chance to check it all out. All aboard!”

“There are always new businesses or food trucks that open up in Milford and this is a good way for them to let the public know. We’ve had businesses that have a new retail store in Milford and they’ve come out here during the different years’ events and they’ve always done really well. It’s a great way to be in front of thousands of local people and tell them about your store. We see thousands of people every year that come through on a normal weekend, some years we see about 10,000 people. It varies from year to year and depending on weather and people’s Memorial Day plans. We usually run this Saturday and Sunday around Memorial Day, this year we added Monday so it gives them another chance to come out.”

Thousands of residents enjoyed an afternoon in the park. “I’m impressed with the amount of people who showed up,” said former Milford resident Rene Minnocci. “The atmosphere is really lively and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, there are families, young people and a good representation for Milford. I came back for this event and for some time at the beach.”

“It’s a well-received event, we love doing it, it gets good reviews,” continued Craven. “We see a lot of return people and return dogs - we remember them too. It seems to be something people like coming out to each year which is awesome, we like that.”