[CLARIFICATION: Organizers of the food truck rodeo say the event may move to the town complex off Gliniewicz Way near Reilly Field by May 26, but it may take longer depending on logistics. ]
A victim of its own success, Abington’s weekly food truck rodeo is being moved from Griffin’s Dairy Park to the government complex at the end of Gliniewicz Way.
Attendance at the first two weeks of the food trucks exceeded what was expected, causing police and organizers last week to turn away vehicles, while other atendees walked up Route 58 to reach the town-owned park.
“We probably underestimated the pent-up food truck demand,” June Somers, president of the South Shore Food Truck Association, told Abington selectmen Monday night. “It was a beautiful day last Wednesday and the parking lot was quite full and we had to turn away a lot of people.”
Following a 3-1 vote by selectmen, the rodeo will relocate to its new home starting next Wednesday, May 26, with visitors able to park in the 120-space lot that serves town hall, the town library, Reilly Field, and the summer concert bandstand. Organizers hope the trucks can be located on the summer concert lawn via an access road between the park and Middle/ High School. If the vehicles aren’t able to make it onto the field, they will be located in the parking lot.
Richard Hanna, a member of the Griffin’s Dairy Committee, said the group supports the move.
“This event just overwhelmed Griffin’s, with vehicles and people,” he said.
The discussion at Monday’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting initially focused on moving the rodeo to the former North School location, with trucks parking on the old baseball field. But that proposal was quickly shot down after board members raised concerns that the site actually has less parking, would result in more pedestrians crossing adjacent roads, and require more police officers to manage traffic.
“There’s just too many intersections and people coming from too many differen directions,” Selectman Alex Bezanson said.
The Beaver Brook Elementary School and Abington Middle/High School complexes were also considered but both are currently used for youth sports on Wednesday evenings.
The discussion settled around the town hall/town library/Reilly Field complex. The combined lots have more spaces than was available at Griffin’s Dairy, with additional parking located next door at the Middle/High School. The area is used to hosting big crowds, with summer concerts sometimes drawing 1,000 people. The location would also pull traffic away from the town’s main thoroughfares during rush hour, selectmen said.
The switch will happen next week instead of this week in order to give organizers time to adjust signs, notifty food trucks, move portable toilets, and address other logistical needs.
Deputy Police Chief Chris Cutter and Fire Chief John Nuttall also signed off on the relocation.
Selectman Alex Hagerty voted against the move.
“Griffin’s Dairy Farm is such a gorgeous piece of Abington’s community and I firmly believed the attraction of the Food Trucks on Wednesday evenings there would help drum up more involved from the community at Griffin’s Dairy Farm,” Hagerty said in a statement to Abington News. “I voted no to move the trucks because I felt that it could be too early to make the move and I’d much prefer to make it work.”
At the request of the food truck association, selectmen also approved increasing the number of food trucks at the event, raising the cap from six to 10. Somers said the line for the taco truck last week was 35 deep at one point. More trucks will help lines move faster, she said.