The Foodtruck Wars Street Festival is coming back this summer to serve up a variety of culinary choices Saskatoon has to offer — all parked together for people to enjoy.
Mean Green Ice Cream Machine owner Rob Hodgins hasn’t always been in the business of mobile frozen sweets.
“For the past 40 years, I’ve been an entertainment agent in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan. That has really been my main career,” Hodgins said.
“My daughter had bought an ice cream shop on Broadway (Avenue). It doesn’t exist anymore … And her life became more involved with a job and a husband and I was looking for summer work so I took over the ice cream shop and then it has since morphed into this ice cream truck.
“This is my sixth year in the food truck business.”
Hodgins said it was “tough” for his seasonal business last summer with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had a spot that I went to every day over at Avenue P and 11th. The gals at Diane’s Kitchen there were kind enough to let me park on their parking lot. And I serviced the people of the Holiday Park area and of course, anybody else who’s driving by,” he said.
“But it was all of the private events were pretty much shut down. All the public special events like Foodtruck Wars or Fringe or any of those were all shut down. So it was a very quiet year.
“For some trucks, the last year and a half has been really hard. Most of the people, I would say, in the food truck industry have other jobs that are their main source of income. And so, they got through with that other work but as for the food truck, it was very slim.”
With the festival returning and moving locations this summer, Hodgins is optimistic.
“It feels great … This is my first really big sort of festival-type event,” he said.
“We’re still exercising caution to the extent that it seems appropriate, but we’re pretty excited to be back. This is a very extroverted kind of group of people, both the truck owners and the people that come out to the event. So to be locked up for a year and a half was a challenge for a lot of people.
“Sutherland Curling Club is where we started and then the people in charge moved it to Riversdale and that was a good run in there. And now they’ve chosen to step it up again and go downtown. So we’ll see what happens downtown.”
Organizers previously announced the seventh Foodtruck Wars Street Festival will be held on 4th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets and 23rd Street between 3rd and 4th avenues.
“Safety for our patrons was a major concern for us, so we decided to run a scaled-down version this year. Unfortunately, there will be no competitions and limited entertainment, but we have a great lineup of food vendors, craft market vendors, and plenty of table seating,” read a Foodtruck Wars Facebook post.
“Our full festival will return in 2022.”
The 2021 festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and runs Thursday through Saturday.
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