Last weekend I had the opportunity to join four of the most dedicated, hard-working volunteers in Sacramento to do something truly amazing. The group? SactoMoFo, the capital city’s mobile food advocates & event coordinators. The event? SactoMoFo 3, the third major mobile food event in Sacramento. The results? Pure success.
SactoMoFo, a 100% volunteer-driven organization, was formed earlier this year to help create awareness about the difficulties mobile food owners face in Sacramento, and to promote positive discussion with all parties to help add mobile food to our existing food culture in a way that’s beneficial to everyone involved. Part of that includes hosting events to bring the community together in the best way possible – around delicious food. The first large SactoMoFo event held this past April was so surprisingly successful, it brought in over 9,000 people to Midtown’s Fremont Park. Though the lines were crazy and some vendors ran out of food, the message the event’s turnout sent was clear: Sacramento really likes – and wants – mobile food.
Last Saturday’s event was held at a great location, if you ask me: under the freeway at 8th & W, right where the Sunday farmer’s market is held every week. Twenty-two mobile food vendors from all over Northern California, including San Francisco, Sacramento and the East Bay, converged upon the under-the-freeway parking lot and turned it into mobile food mecca. Along with the trucks was a great DJ, face-painting & Santa pictures for the kids (big and small, of course!), incredible prizes that were raffled off throughout the day – in short, it was a really fun, family-friendly event. And it was an event for good – we collected barrels filled with non-perishable food donations for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and toys for Toys for Tots, thanks to the generosity of event-goers.
From a sort of “insider’s” perspective (I came on board the SactoMoFo crew as their social media coordinator just a short time ago), it was fun to watch everyone have such a wonderful time at MoFo 3. Sure, it was a chilly, windy December day and we were under a cold concrete overpass, but that didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves one bit. Bundled up in coats, scarves & hats, they patiently waited in lines (only 45 minutes long this time, yay!) for their sandwiches, noodles, waffles & tots. Some started waiting in line for SF trucks, Bacon Bacon and Chairman Bao, at 10:15, even though the event wasn’t scheduled to start until 11!
Our local boys did extremely well, despite being surrounded by some of the most popular food trucks in California. Drewski’s, the twisted comfort food kings of Sac, was packed with a solid crowd the whole day, their black & white checkered paper hugging their tricked-out grilled cheeses everywhere you turned. Wicked Wich rolled out new & classic menu items to long lines of devoted customers and showed off the adorable new “Lil ‘Wich”, their new mini mobile food delivery van. Fuzion Eats and Coast to Coast Sandwiches showed us some other fantastic sandwich options, as well as delicious gyros, waffle fries, burgers, you name it!
But it was Mini Burger that just couldn’t stop serving the entire day, literally until the event’s closing time of 6pm. I did several rounds of the entire lot throughout the day, snapping pictures of food & crazy long lines, but no truck had a longer, steadier line throughout the day as Mini Burger (and if you’ve ever had a Ninja and those sweet potato tots, you know exactly why). Turns out that was a reallygood thing, because they apparently broke their personal sales record, which had held strong since the first MoFo event. And they were parked right across from Bacon Bacon! Who says Sacramento doesn’t know good food?
As one of the SactoMoFo “ambassadors”, my fun job was to be just that: an ambassador of good will wearing a crazy Santa hat, answering people’s questions and invading people’s personal space to take pictures of their food (it’s like the job was destined for me, no?). Luckily for me, everyone was in a pretty good mood because of the awesome food, so they were more than happy to show off their sandwiches, lumpia and empanadas for my camera. Some folks worked in teams, others braved the long lines alone, wearing plenty of warm layers and armed with coolers and shopping bags to cart around all that food.
It was a truly fantastic time and from what I was told by everyone I talked to that day, they can’t wait for the next event. I’m glad to be a part of this great group of folks and look forward to playing a more active part in our next big brewhaha! From what I’ve seen, its a lot of work, but the payoff of seeing thousands of smiling, satisfied people just having some good old-fashioned funis totally worth it.