By EMILY RAMSEY
FOOD TRUCK FUN: Patrons gather at Kendall Whittier’s Food Truck Festival in April 2015. On April 2, Kendall Whittier will hold its fourth annual food truck festival from noon-5 p.m. The festival will feature at least eight food trucks and local musicians.
Courtesy Kendal Whittier Main Street
As warm weather nears, so does festival season. That includes two upcoming festivals in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood.
On April 2, Kendall Whittier will hold its fourth annual Kendall Whittier Food Truck Festival from noon-5 p.m. at Admiral Boulevard and Lewis Avenue.
The festival will feature at least eight food trucks, local musicians, including Brad Piccolo, the lead singer for the Red Dirt Rangers, the Mobile Fab Lab and a Kids Zone.
Organizers are expecting close to 2,000 visitors to the festival, which will equate to added foot traffic for local merchants.
“We have found that almost 40 percent of people visiting the festival visit a merchant in the district,” says Ed Sharrer, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street. “This festival provides a chance for us to help our local merchants by bringing additional foot traffic.”
The food truck festival began in 2013 and has since grown from six trucks to upwards of 10 with more room for growth.
“With the food truck demand, we could go up to 16-18 trucks, but we are trying to keep the festival small, due to parking, infrastructure issues and out of consideration for our business owners,” says Sharrer. “That keeps the festival from getting too overrun with people who aren’t looking to shop.”
In addition, the Kendall Whittier neighborhood will be adding a monthly summer event, called Kendall Whittier After Five.
The event will be held May-October on the second Thursday of the month, with the inaugural event on May 12.
In previous years, the neighborhood has held an annual arts festival in June.
That festival will no longer take place, Sharrer says. “When we did our June arts festival in 2015, we found that as many people were inside the merchant stores as were outside with the art vendors,” he continues.
During the event, merchants will keep their stores open from 5-8 p.m. Each month, the event will feature something special in order to draw more visitors to the district, such as an in-store offer, a movie screening or an art opening. There will also be live music and food trucks.
“They will be like six mini-festivals through the summer,” Sharrer says.
The new monthly concept is similar to various monthly events held in other local districts such as East Village, Brady Arts District, Deco District, Broken Arrow’s Rose District and in downtown Owasso.
“We want to create our own environment that sets the district apart in order to draw people,” says Sharrer.
“The number of festivals and districts is a nice problem for Tulsa to have.”