Foodstock rolls back into Somerset this weekend

Apr. 16—The City of Somerset is ready to take a bite out of another season of downtown events with the return of Foodstock this weekend.

Somerset's original food truck festival will take place for the fifth time this Saturday, April 20, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Expect a bit of a scaled-down version this time — the Kentucky Derby themes that have been present in past years won't appear this year due to the timing of the event, and neither will the Somerset Smoke Show grilling competition. But there's' still plenty to see, hear and do for locals downtown this Saturday.

"It looks like the weather is going to cooperate and be just a perfect spring day, which is always exciting," said Leslie Ikerd, City of Somerset Director of Tourism. ""We've got a great list of exceptional food and beverage vendors.

Ikerd said they had planned on doing the grill-off again this year, after working closely with ProTrade Hardware and BBQ Supply and Greg Jones of Baney's Bangin' BBQ Sauce on the event last year.

"It was a great success last year and we enjoyed it and worked hard on many plans to move forward for this year," said Ikerd. However, she said she was informed by ProTrade in January that they wouldn't be able to be a part of it.

"We will work on putting something together for next year with a little bit more time to plan something," said Ikerd. "It's Foodstock. It's all about the food. So anything that we can do to highlight food and the things that are going on in Somerset, (we will). ... I'm working on an approach to bringing that food tourist component to downtown for Foodstock for next year. So we're kind of excited about that, but for now, we're going to enjoy Foodstock as we've known it."

Ikerd said there would be around 10 new vendors this year, with plenty of old favorite coming back as well. There are about 29 food trucks total in 2024, she said, including six spirit vendors, as well as several other businesses that will be open downtown for the event.

"Some of them have been with us since 2019, our first (Foodstock)," said Ikerd. "We love those and support those that have always been with us."

Scheduled food trucks include: Mac Chaos, Summit Meats, Get Ur Smoke On, Gold Star Chili, J&K Italian Kitchen, West Sixth Brewing, The Chuckwagon, Cave Hill Vineyard, What's Pop'n & Shak'n, R&D Concessions, Little Donut Trailer, Bert's Speakcheesy, Taquiera Emmanuel, Crazy Eats, Deez Spudz, Scoop Bug Ice Cream & More, Zimmerman's Famous Pig, A1 Ice Cream, Koffee Pig, Roy's Jamerican Grill, Megan's Sweet Treats, City Slickers Dawgs, Shakes and Cakes, Kona Ice of the Bluegrass, Hendrickson's Kettle Corn, Eddie's Roasted Corn, Louisiana Passion, Matilda's Dogs & More, and Chilling and Grilling.

Spirit vendors are Castle & Key Distillery, Kentucky Mountain Moonshiners, West Sixth Brewing, Lifted Spirits, Cave Hill Winery & Vineyard, and Tap on Main.

General vendors — including Design Addition, Bailey Kate's Boutique, Boot Scootin Goodies, The Yummi Shack, Mini Sugar Company, Subzero Snack Shack, and Trails & Treasures Designs — and retail stores will also be open for business inside the borders of the festival as well.

Admission to Foodstock itself is free; however, the individual food trucks and vendors are not, and those wishing to purchase alcoholic beverages must buy a $5 spirit wristband at one of the entrance gates.

One key feature of the event every year is a busker contest, allowing attendees to choose their favorite street musician, who will get the opportunity to perform at the fall-time Moonlight Festival. This year, those musicians won't actually be on the street but rather inside downtown bar venue The Tipsy Toad.

"This year we worked with (The Tipsy Toad) and had some nominations (for performers) put together," said Ikerd. "They'll be partnering with us to let us use their stage and their equipment and everything.

"Outside the business, in case it's busy and you don't (want to) go in, they have a QR code that you can scan, and it tells you all the artists that are performing that day, and you can vote on your favorite," she added. "... The following week, we'll announce who our winner is."

Without the Derby theme, local artists will be working on a theme of "The Fountain Square," expressing ideas in visual color and form of what that hub of the community means to them. Live art has always been a key part of Foodstock, just as much as the music and the food itself, and Ikerd is again looking forward to seeing what the creators make of the theme.

"They're all artists, but they interpret (the ideas) differently," she said, "and so I'm always excited to see how those turn out."

In the children's area, it's important to make sure that all kids are able to participate in all the activities. Sponsors have collected money to make it so any child can get on inflatables and similar attractions there, said Ikerd. There will also be cornhole, face painting, balloon artists and more.

"It's a good day to be able to come downtown and let your kids play and be together as a family," said Ikerd. "Mom, Dad, grandparents, kids — there's something for everybody."

For more information, see the Foodstock event page on Facebook.

The following intersections will be closed for no thru traffic: Running East to West — Intersection of E. Mt. Vernon Street and South Central Avenue through the intersection of West Mt. Vernon Street and Vine Street; Running North to South — North Main Street and Columbia Street through the intersection of West Market Street and South Main St.; North Maple and East Columbia St. through South Maple Street and Market Street; Intersection of South Central Avenue and Market Street.

Road Closure times will begin Saturday, April 20 at 6 a.m. and will remain closed until Saturday, April 21 at 1 a.m. Contact or City of Somerset event team member, Misty Vinson at 679-6366 with any questions or concerns.

Ikerd suggested making the most of the spring day, bringing a lawn chair and spending time with friends and family at a community get-together.

"I really think those are the things that make our community unique and strong," she said, "those fellowship opportunities."