Last year, we participated in what seemed like a never-ending calendar of food truck events and markets. As vendors, each event was special to us but as parents the most fun were the ones where our kids could hang out too. So here is an insider peek behind the top five!
1.Food Truck Rally at Grand Army Plaza
When – Held every first and third Sunday from April to October, 11am-5pm
Where – Grand Army Plaza, at the entrance to Prospect Park, between the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Crown Heights, near the 2,3,B, Q trains.
Managed by Dispatch NY, this is one of the most family friendly food truck events. The trucks are carefully curated to offer something for everyone so while the kids munch on grilled cheese the foodie you could be enjoying an arepa ! Big plus – they always include a dessert truck and the lines at all the trucks are never too long. The historic Soldiers & Sailors’ Arch and the Bailey fountain offer a dramatic backdrop and there are enough shaded areas to sit down and eat with the family. The proximity to Prospect Park zoo and Brooklyn Botanic Garden helped us make it an all day event with the kids many a times. A perfectly relaxed Sunday outing!
2. All About Downtown Street Fair
When – Saturday, September 20 2014, 11am to 6pm
Where – Down Newark Avenue in Historic Downtown Jersey City, near the Path train
Technically, its Jersey not New York but the event is such a blast that’s its worth checking out. There are bouncy castles, arts & crafts, music for the kids and local artisans selling wares worth buying, not made in China cashmere scarves & T- shirts as in most street fairs. The food choices between the trucks and the pop up stands are eclectic but reasonably priced. Also one of the few street fairs where vendors sell wine, beer & cocktails!
3. Vendy Awards
When – TBA , Sometime in September 2014
Where – TBA
Now in its 10th year The Vendys are the first street food event and competition series that provide a forum for vendors to compete for the title of best street food. The finalists arrive with their carts/trucks and prepare their best bites for Vendy attendees and judges. The event is ticketed but unlike some other events food and beverages are plentiful and so are the seating areas. The only downside is that the lines are really long so if you have kids go early.
On a side note, the nominees are mostly mom & pops that spend a substantial sum serving about 1000 free portions so do support them when you see them on the streets.
4. Brooklyn Night Bazaar
When – Fridays & Saturdays 7pm-1am
Where – 65 Banker Street, Brooklyn, near the G train
A night market in Greenpoint,it is super popular with hipsters but even if you do not don a beard, check shirt, beanie & combat boots and have kids in tow you will be totally deck here! The Bazaar is all ages but those under 17 need adult supervision to enter. Entrance is always free and it’s not busy if you go early evening – the kids will love to hear the bands do sound check, play some black night mini golf, try some cool eats and browse cool funky kids stuff sold by many vendors. Makes the kids feel all grown up!
5. Maker’s Faire
When – Sep. 20 & 21, 2014
Where – New York Hall of Science, Queens near the 7 train.
Part science fair, part county fair, and part family festival, Maker’s Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs and commercial exhibitors. From robots to life sized mouse traps, its an amazing display of creativity and is bound to keep your kids engaged for hours. The food is not too shabby either- last year one of the vendors started slow cooking his paèlla on site a day before the event started !