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Food truck rodeo combines grub, goods, games

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WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo is returning downtown Sunday to usher in its fifth year of celebrating walk-up-and-eat dining.

This weekend’s event will offer more to do and more to eat, according to its coordinators, Taffee and Virgil Wilson.

“Come out and support local business,” Taffee Wilson said. “Local business is what supports our community. They bring money into the community.”

The four-hour event will feature 13 food trucks and 20 arts and craft vendors. There will also be cornhole games, live music and a kids’ zone with a bouncy house, face painting, bubbles and more.

Brooks Street Bowl will operate a beer tent and offer discounts on bowling games during the Rodeo. The Raleigh Moonwalk will offer paid rides in its “moon ride” vehicles. The event will also include raffles and giveaways. But the focus of the Rodeo, the Wilsons say, are the food trucks. This year’s mobile eateries will offer a variety of flavors and cuisines, from Greek to Carolina barbecue.

The Wilsons will be running their food truck of six years, Virgil’s Jamaica, the successor to a long-time restaurant the couple owned.

“I’d say 95 percent of food trucks are family-owned businesses,” Taffee Wilson said. “The recipes are authentic. The families are handing them down. They are trying to make a living off of them.”

Food truck events are popular in places like Durham and have been successful in introducing customers to the idea of food trucks, Virgil Wilson said. He said the first Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo in 2014 had a positive reception at a time when food trucks were just starting to become normalized.

“It’s almost like a carnival-type experience,” Taffee Wilson said. “Normally it’s pretty quick. It’s fast food but it’s also good food and depending on what you get it can be healthy too.

She said she hopes customers will try food from multiple trucks to support several owners and taste a variety of food styles.

“I think people just like the idea of being able to walk up to a truck. It’s just different being able to see a friendly face,” she added.

The event will be held rain or shine. The Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo will return twice more this year: once on June 27 and again on Oct. 28.

Participating food trucks:

• Charlie’s Kabob

• Chirba Chirba

• Cousins Maine Lobster

• Gussy’s Greek Street Food

• Hale Yeah

• The Humble Pig

• Jeffrey’s Grill

• Las Gringas

• Stavi’s sandwiches

• Virgil’s Jamaica

• Grandma G’s Lemonade

• Kona Ice

• Lumpy’s Ice Cream

Want to go?

What: Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo

When: Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Outside the Renaissance Centre at 405 S. Brooks St., Wake Forest

Cost: Free to attend