Fairfield Food Truck Festival coming back with live music

FAIRFIELD — This year’s food truck festival to benefit the library is coming with an added bonus — live music.

The event will be from 11 am to 6 pm on Oct. 2, at Jennings Beach. It is hosted by the Friends of the Fairfield Public Library, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the library, which is partnering with the town this year.

“That allowed us, for the first time, to allow live bands all day long,” said Mike Foley, a board member of the friends group.

Attendees pay a $5 donation to get into the festival, and then pay whatever the prices are at the food trucks. Food trucks also pay a small fee to participate, Foley said.

Food trucks participating this year include Lobster Craft, DrewbaQ, Bubble & Brew Tea, Finger Linkin’ Chicken and Rice & Beans. The bands playing are School of Rock’s Local All-Star Band, Get Lit and The Zambonis.

Foley said the board has been active for decades in Fairfield, doing events like author talks. But, in 2017 the board wanted to start holding bigger events. He and his wife, Jennifer Butler, joined and pitched the idea of ​​the Fairfield Food Truck Festival.

“They were like, ‘But what does it have to do with books?'” he said. “I said, ‘Technically nothing, but it brings in money.’ They took a leap of faith and they went with it.”

Foley said they tie the event in with library programs, such as offering a story hour for children.

That first year they watched waves of people arrive at the event. He said it raised more than $15,000 that day with about 5,000 people attending.

“It was an amazing success right off the bat,” he said. “We just sort of built from there.”

Since then, the event always has at least 4,000 people show up, Foley said.

Foley said it is a balancing act to figure out how many food trucks to book, but the sweet spot is between 15 and 20. He said this year there will be about 17 trucks.

“We’re always on the lookout for new trucks, but we love our returning trucks,” he said. “For instance, Lobster Craft here in Fairfield, they’re coming back again. We’ve always been very fortunate that the food trucks enjoy the event.”

Foley said the money the event raises goes directly to the library — previously paying for things like the mobile computer labs, upgrades to the Teen Center at the Fairfield Woods Library Branch and a new public address system for the community room in the main library.

“We collaborate closely with Scott (Jarzombek), the head librarian,” he said. “We basically ask where they would like this money to go. The main thing is that it has to benefit a program. We don’t want to end up buying chairs for the library or something like that. It has to support a program that impacts the public.”

Jarzombek said The Friends of Fairfield Public Library is an incredible group that has done incredible work for the library, helping fund programs like the Summer Reading Challenge and upgrades at the library and its branches.

“The Food Truck Fest and the wonderful work the Friends do — patrons can see their positive impact every day they walk into our libraries,” he said.

Foley said they have been intensely advertising for the event, as have the bands playing at it.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “It could be crazy.”

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