For those disappointed with the recent red tape that local food trucks have faced or those unfamiliar with the variety of food-truck fare available in Victoria, the first annual “Victoria Street Food Festival,” July 19 and July 26 in Centennial Square, is a great opportunity.
Finding food trucks in Victoria can be like searching for hidden treasure; they are scattered throughout the city with varying days and hours of operation. An organizer with Vancouver Island Cultural (V.I.C.) Fest, one of the groups presenting the festival, Drew Coleman says the spattering of food trucks as well as a love of food among V.I.C. Fest staff inspired the new food festival. “We got talking, and we looked at a couple of the other food truck festivals around, in Vancouver and in Edmonton and all across the United States, and thought ‘Why don’t we do that here and bring them all together, and make it one spot for people to come out and enjoy,’” says Coleman.
Food Trucks are becoming a trend in Victoria that shows no signs of slowing down. “Everyday we seem to be getting emails and phone calls about people who are interested in joining in the festival,” says Coleman. Asked if Victoria is becoming a food truck city, Coleman replied, “I think it might already be there, with the number of food trucks that are out there right now. Everyone’s looking for a home right now, and we might be at that door. I think that the food trucks are just going to join in to the amazing culinary experience that Victoria can be.”
People who are unfamiliar with street food, or more specifically food trucks, may find the idea of eating food produced from a cart or on a truck unappetizing. However, Coleman reassures, “Everyone is licensed through VIHA [Vancouver Island Health Authority], so everything is shipshape when it comes to all of their food-space protocol on board of all the different vendors that we have. So I’d say if you haven’t tried food trucks before, you need to come down.”
The festival will feature local favourites such as Puerto Vallarta Amigos and L’Authentique Poutine and Burger, as well as Vancouver’s Big Dogs Burger Bus. Coleman gives an idea of what those planning to attend the festival can expect from the food trucks: “When they come down they’re going to have a nice little menu to choose from that is very similar to restaurants with typically some appetizers, some entrees and maybe even some desserts.”
The festival will also feature a beer garden and entertainment provided by DJs as well as local acts The Roper Show on the 19th and The Grass Tracks on the 26th. The beer garden does not open till 2 p.m., which was the original start time of the entire festival. Although, hoping to accommodate a downtown lunch crowd, the rest of the festival is starting earlier at 11 a.m. “It worked so well, with all the people that worked downtown and they can simply either come out for lunch with it starting at 11 o’clock or afterwards come out and have a beer, and enjoy the sunshine and get some good food,” says Coleman.
Ultimately, the festival is a way to showcase the food in Victoria, Coleman says. “We wanted to celebrate all of the cuisine in Victoria, and we think the food trucks right now are doing a really good job of presenting some fun, unique ways of putting stuff together.” If the festival is a success, it could be added to the long list of annual festivals in Victoria. Coleman says, “We hope that it will come back next year, as strong or bigger and better than this year.”
Victoria Street Food Festival
Centennial Square (downtown Victoria)
Fri. July 19 & Fri. July 26
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (2 p.m. to 8 p.m. beer garden)