On Friday, May 30, Kingsland
will host the Calgary
Street Food Festival in search of
the city’s best street food.
Kingsland Farmers’ Market has gathered 15 food trucks and 15 food vendors to compete in the festival. Each vendor will offer a special five-dollar-dish in addition to their regular menu items, which will be entered into the contest. The winner gets the bragging rights that come with being labelled “best street food in Calgary.”
“[We’re hosting the festival] to reach out to the community and show everyone what great food there is in the city and what great local produce is available,” says Adam Buck, social media and community coordinator for Kingsland Farmers’ Market.
Calgary food culture has grown as people want to eat healthy and find out where their food comes from. Buck says the Street Food Festival highlights this movement by showcasing food made by local producers using local produce.
“There’s a lot of people who want to buy organic and natural produce and meats, as well as fresh sustainable fish,” says Buck. “Once people are aware of what’s available to them, you see them returning. They want to be part of that local food movement.”
While the festival is only in its second year, Buck thinks it already plays a large part in developing Calgary’s food culture.
“We’re able to attract over 5,000 people in a couple of hours and expose them to chefs and food vendors that they’ve never had before,” says Buck. “There’s lots of great farmers around and this gives them the customers an opportunity to interact with the farmers and vice versa.”
Deborah Lawton, owner of the Perogy Boyz food truck, thinks that by getting people involved, street food offers something that can’t be replicated by sit-down restaurants.
“You’re standing in line with someone. Whether it’s someone in a business suit or a construction worker — they’re all sharing this time together,” Lawton says. “It brings an alternative to lunch or dinner. It’s not fast food, it’s good food.”
Food trucks bring more than good food to a city. They also foster a sense of community between patrons and fellow food truck drivers.
“When the trucks get together, we as food truckers have our own small community. We really like to encourage and support one another. We love to be out there and be with people,” says Lawton.
In addition to promoting local food, the festival promotes sustainable transportation. Kingsland Farmers’ Market will be holding a draw for those who use public transit to travel down to the event and show their transfers.