Brian Hudson, owner of Rib Brothers BBQ, expects a record turnout for Saturday’s festival after he sold out of his whole inventory last year.
Brian Hudson adjusted the temperature on his industrial smoker Friday as he laid out dozens of foil wrapped ribs, pans of Mac n’ cheese, and green beans.
Hudson, owner of Rib Brothers BBQ in Columbia, believes his second appearance at Saturday’s 7th annual Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival will be a huge success for his business. Last year, he sold out of his food truck’s entire menu within three hours. The festival at the State Fairgrounds runs from noon to 5 p.m.
Hudson said popular items like his macaroni and cheese with brisket and turkey wings are sure to bring people back.
“It was a big hit. It was a bit of a shaky thing because of COVID and the pandemic, but it wound up being pretty good,” Hudson said.
Saturday’s festival will feature over 40 food trucks and 22 craft beers, as well as local artists and a DJ. Tickets are sold in advance at $5 and $10 at the gate. Food and drink are sold separately from admission. The entrance is through gate 6 at 901 George Rogers Blvd.
Festivals like these are very profitable for food trucks, which have been growing more popular since before the Massachusetts-based Food Truck Festivals of America started traveling in 2015.
However, profit isn’t the only reason businesses come out.
“We just love cooking, it’s therapeutic for us,” Hudson said. “My mom taught me to give back. And I think the more you give back, and the more you show the community that you love them, you get it back.”
Other food trucks in attendance are brand new. This is the first year for Jeanette Dempsey, owner of Carolina Donut Diva, a gourmet donut truck.
Dempsey bought her food truck two months ago so she could do more events and get more exposure. But for her, it’s about leaving customers satisfied.
“‘It’s been a labor of love,” Dempsey said. “It’s all about making customers happy.”
Attendance is already expected to be up from last year due to increased ticket sales. One of the selling points of the Food Festivals of America is that all food is made to order, so long lines are expected.
Bethany DaSilva, public relations representative of Food Festivals of America, recommends coming in large groups in order to get the best experience and combat long lines.
Jeanette Dempsey, owner of Carolina Donut Diva, said her freshly made donuts are very popular with kids and parents.
Smoked macaroni and cheese, BBQ ribs, green beans, and other southern staples are all available at Rib Brothers BBQ’s food truck.
Over forty food truck vendors will be in attendance Saturday for the 7th annual Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival.