Foodstock sees more than 9,000 guests enjoy good food, weather

Apr. 22—By any yardstick used to measure such things, Saturday's Foodstock was a definite success, according to City of Somerset Tourism Director Leslie Ikerd.

Not only did this year's downtown outdoor food truck festival set a record attendance for the Foodstock event — Ikerd said more than 9,000 visitors poured through the gates — but it was the second largest crowd for any of the city's downtown festivals.

Plus, it turned out well, weather-wise.

Ikerd called the day's sunshine and mild temperatures "Fabulous. I like it when God shows off a little bit," she said.

And, for the most part, it all went off without a hitch, save a cell phone issue that was well beyond the control of Ikerd or anyone else in Pulaski.

A Kentucky-wide AT&T outage was reported on the day, and that had an effect on vendors who use that carrier to process credit card payments or email receipts, Ikerd said.

Still, there were lines of hungry people ready to taste the abundance of food on hand.

"I would say over half of (the food vendors) sold out, and we had a total of 34 vendors," Ikerd said. She noted also that many downtown businesses were open as well, either selling food or merchandise.

One of those local businesses was the Mole Hole and Tipsy Toad, which also played host to Foodstock's Busker Music Contest.

The AT&T outage interfered a bit with the voting for that as well, since audience members listening in were asked to use a QR code to go to the voting site, but by Monday evening Ikerd was ready to announce the winner as Brando Vanschoyck.

"He will be performing on the Moonlight Festival stage on October 19," Ikerd said.

Ikerd thanked the day's other performers — Mela B, Kevin Thomas Jones and Annie Boek — for sharing their time and musical talents.

She also thanked the Tipsy Toad for hosting the musical event.

As with all of Somerset's festivals, Ikerd noted that they are built on "food, art and music." For the art aspect of it this time, the festival chose the theme of "The Fountain Square."

Ikred said live artists shared their work during the event.

"Martin Hranicky created these custom (items) in the shape of Pulaski County, and then the art was painted on top of those," she said.

Ikerd thanked everyone who she said helped to make the event a success.

"I want to brag on our event team that does an outstanding job," Ikerd said. "We have people from every department in the city that volunteer to come together to be on my event team. They are people who are natural welcoming and hospitable," which makes the event as friendly and inviting as possible, she said.

Beyond city employees, she said a number of community volunteers helped out, such as the Somer City Roller Derby and the Somerset High School Cheerleading Team.

She also added Pulaski County Jailer Anthony McCollum and the Pulaski County Detention Center's work release program to her list of people to thank.

The inmates, she said, "always help three or four hours to set up and three or four hours to break down, and they're always very nice and very helpful."

She also noted that several first responders were among the crowd — Somerset Police, Somerset Fire and Somerset-Pulaski County EMS workers who helped to keep everyone at the event safe.

Not that they were any major incidents that required first responders to resolve, she said. "We don't seem to bring in a crowd that causes any issues at all. We're very blessed in that way. All different people from all different walks of life, and everybody's just happy to be there from what I've seen. That's awesome, in my opinion, to know you're in a safe place, and your family can come. You see everybody from kids in strollers to dogs on leashes to grandparents. How many things can you do in life where all ages are there and it's free?"

And as for making it a free event, Ikerd said she wanted to thank Foodstock's sponsors, without whom it wouldn't be possible to operate such a free event on this scale.

Carla Slavey can be reached at