Did you know that Street Food City was Vancouver's firstever street food festival? The team at Tourism Vancouver worked closely with the City of Vancouver to establish this annual event as part of Dine Out Vancouver Festival back in 2011. For the last three years, partnering with Street Food Vancouver Society and The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Tourism Vancouver has supported Street Food City as another way of sharing Vancouver's culinary scene with locals and visitors and embracingVancouver's "winter".
So what's involved in coordinating an event like this? We asked Lucas Pavan, Festival Coordinator for his insight into how this event has evolved.
How long does it take to plan an event like this?
Well, it involves months of planning and requires us to obtain permits, create a site plan, cooperate with the Vancouver Art Gallery the dozens of food truck vendors and source all of the other suppliers that together make this event such a fun time for five days during Dine Out™. It costs a lot of money to put on an event like this so we look to sponsorships as much as possible. Everything from tents and tables and chairs to balloons and signage and musicians has a cost involved. We are thankful for the support of Tourism Vancouver, Street Food Vancouver, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Lonsdale event rentals, Inflated Ideas, and others for their support.
What sort of plans do you make to account for Vancouver's winter weather?
Winter, we don't really have winter in Vancouver, do we? It never rains! Ha! Honestly, we always make plans for rain and cold by having tents (with walls to shield from wind and rain) and heaters on hand. Turns out we didn't really need them this year with the five amazing days we had. The tables and linens and chairs give a sophisticated feel to the event. Wecan't let the possibility of grey and wet skies keep us from holding this event.
Why did you decide to involve street food trucks in a restaurant festival?
Dine Out is really a celebration of everything that is food in Vancouver. More and more we are seeing restaurateurs opening food trucks in addition to restaurants, and really, a festival of Vancouver's culinary scene wouldn't be complete without involving such a fundamental part of eating in the City.
How do you select the trucks that participate?
All of the food truck vendors need to be members of the Street Food Vancouver Society. They put out a call to their food truck members and see who wants to get involved. Street Food City attracts more than 15,000 people over the five days so you can imagine that there's a lot of demand to be included.
How big can it grow?
We are currently limited by both space and the structural integrity of the Art Gallery's north plaza. There's only so much room, and the building itself can only support so much weight (The Art Gallery's archives are underneath the plaza). We're hoping that with the renovation of the plaza in the coming years will enable us to increase the number of trucks we can accommodate.
What are future plans for Street Food City IV and beyond?
Bigger, always bigger!
To view a "day in the life" of Street Food City, check out the video below. Street Food City III ran for five days from January 22 - 26th with over 15,000 people attending.