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Columbus food trucks put the rubber to the road for festival

Courtesy of Tom Wolf

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Whether good, bad or greasy, food trucks are becoming staples in the Columbus food scene. And these grab-n-grub trucks will be showcasing their diesel-diner dishes in hopes of cornering the market on convenient carry-out.

The second annual Food Truck-A-Palooza will return to the Ohio History Center in Columbus on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The event will feature more than 15 different food trucks and food carts from around the city as well as live music and entertainment. Admission is free.

“It’s an opportunity for people to be able to try food from all the different trucks all in one location,” said Stacia Kuceyeski, manager of educational partnerships and outreach at the Ohio Historical Society.

Kuceyeski said that the idea came about after Three Babes and a Baker, a gourmet cupcake truck, came to the Ohio History Center last year. Afterward, the OHS decided to organize an event that would bring together several different food trucks from all over the city.

Kuceyeski said that, like she and her coworkers, there are many people in the city that wish to try the various food trucks on their lunch breaks, but that sometimes it is just too difficult.

“For us to try some of these food trucks, we would need to drive to them and park,” she said. “Sometimes that can be a little hard to do without a lunch break. So this provides an evening opportunity for people to try them. Also, it gives the food trucks some additional exposure to an audience they may not be getting.”

One of the vendors that will be at this year’s event is Pitabilities, which has only been up and running for about two months.

Owner Jim Pashovich described its menu as “kind of a Mediterranean-American fusion.”

Its specialty is pita sandwiches. Greek gyros, chicken pitas, Philly steak pitas and fish pitas are among the most popular menu items. They also have daily specials as well as pita chips and fries.

“(I’m excited) to have people that haven’t seen us yet try us out,” Pashovich said.

Most vendors will be selling sample sizes of their most popular dishes, so attendees will be able try food from several different vendors.

Ellie Caldwell, a second-year in special education, was unfamiliar with Food Truck-A-Palooza, but is now considering attending.

“It sounds really cool and sounds like something I would be interested in going to,” she said. “It seems like a great way to try things I never would have before.”

The availability of sample sizes of the food is what attracts her the most.

“I don’t think I would usually go to random places and find new stuff,” Caldwell said. “But since I can try a little, I would be way more open to try it all.”

Kuceyeski said last year’s Food Truck-A-Palooza brought in about 400 people.

“This year were hoping to have more people,” Kuceyeski said. “We have more trucks than we had last year as well. And we’ve moved the location in order to accommodate a larger crowd.”

This year’s event will be held at Ohio Village, which is a recreated 1860s town located at 800 E. 17th Ave.

Attendees should keep in mind that most food trucks only take cash and do not accept credit cards.

There will be free parking for the event. The Ohio History Museum will also offer buy-one-get-one-free admission to celebrate the event. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“One of the things that makes Columbus great is that there are so many community events,” Kuceyeski said. “When you have events like this that continue to go on throughout the year, it makes Columbus a fun place to live.”

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