Saturday evening a surly red rooster greeted visitors at the entrance of the Dallas Heritage Village with an ungracious crow from its coop. Inside the Old City Park south of downtown, the bright green sloping lawns were speckled with picnic blankets during first official Cedars Food Park event. About 15 food trucks lined-up along the wide walkways under large shade trees, where, at least early in the event, lines were only 3 or 4 people deep.
Focusing on the heat would be a disservice to the event, but let's go ahead and get it out of the way. Yes, it was hot. Yes, sweat glistened from brows and darkened t-shirts. But, despite the uncomfortable late-July temps, this was still a fun event.
The melancholy three-piece band The Sicklies set up at one end of the lawn and poured their rifts through the historic park, while Deep Ellum Brewing Company poured cold beer from under a white gazebo.
Lee Harvey's held things down in the Alamo Saloon, a respectable watering hole back in its heyday of 1904. Did you know that during that time local breweries produced 75,000 barrels of beer a day (the DHV visitors guide says so)? Tait Lifto of DEBC hunkered down at a table in the bar where he was keeping the company of Chocktaw Jack, a stuffed grizzly bear and one-time resident of the Dallas Zoo. Tall tales and lies flowed liberally.
In addition to the picnic blankets and about 10 large tables set out on the lawn, there was a covered gazebo with a lot of tables and one of the buildings along Main Street in the middle of the village offered air conditioned dining.
If you went to school in Dallas, at some point you probably took a fieldtrip to the Dallas Heritage Village to learn about the early settlers of the area. Perhaps you even retained a few tidbits of information. If not, consider a tour when they reopen in September (they don't do tours during August).
This was the first big food truck event I've attended locally, other than the Austin and Fort Worth food truck parks. But, based on what I've read about the other local events, this one seems to have been a success. Parking was easy, there wasn't an admission fee, the setting was bucolic, the wait to both order and receive food was never more than 10 minutes and the vibe was totally chill.
Enticed, a shaved ice truck couldn't have been happier with the event.
"The food trucks have been looking for a place to call home for a while and if Saturday's success was anything of what's to come, then we're ecstatic," said Lauren Noblett with Enticed. "Being that Fort Worth has three food parks and growing, it's about time Big D got with the program."
They reported that as the night went on, the lines got longer. More importantly, for the truck owners, it was well organized.
"The promoters and organizers of The Cedars [Food Park] have taken into account all aspects that make for a well structured environment, from both the trucks' and the visitors' perspectives," said Noblett. "These guys did their research by reaching out to trucks, listening to the followers, watching what has not worked at other events and parks around the metroplex."
The food trucks will conglomerate around the lawns for the Cedars Food Park for lunch on Wednesday - Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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Then beginning August 16, every Thursday evening from 5 to 10 p.m.
It's not open every weekend right now, but it will be open on select days and evenings throughout the year.
Check The Cedars Food Park Facebook page for details.
The red rooster was still yelling at people when we left. Red roosters are like that though. They never have any fun.