Vancouver Food Cart Fest 2013 – I feel like I’ve been punk’d

Well you guys, I haven’t had a really good rant in a while and I was starting to think I was losing my edge. Never fear, Food Cart Fest to the rescue!!  The plan was to head down to False Creek with Hayley and meet up with some local foodies (@mhchipmunk, @yvrbcbro and @foodgays). I got to the Athletes Village just after 12 and parked under Legacy Liquor Store. The parking ticket machine there never works and it seems like no one cares so free parking! Off to a good start.

You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.
You can sort of see Food Cart Fest in the distance.

I wandered over to the big empty parking lot where the festival is being held this year and saw a really long lineup of people along the walking/bike path. That couldn’t be just to get in could it? Yep, it was. There was roughly (and I’m under exaggerating) 400 people lined up to enter Food Cart Fest and this isn’t even the first weekend. I decided to see WHY the lineup was so long and discovered that it was because you have to pay an ADMISSION FEE to even get in??!! Last year The event was held in the parking lot at The Waldorf on Hastings all summer and there was no admission fee. Were there lineups at the trucks? Yes there were but that is totally acceptable. Yes the admission fee is only $2 but that makes the line so slow that someone with a young child >>>ME<<< has to stand in the heat for 30-45 minutes? This is the part where I lose all the non parents… Talk to you later. But it’s not just the parents, it’s EVERYONE!

This year you have to line up to pay to get in, to line up to pay to eat. Stupid. Vancouver’s food truck newbies envision a city that looks like Portland with food trucks parked on every corner and dedicated parking lots filled with amazing food and brimming with atmosphere. That happened organically for Portland, it wasn’t forced like they’re trying to do here. Why would I pay to have the privilege to eat at a food truck when I can eat at a food truck any other day of the week and just pay for the food? I love Vancouver’s food trucks. I love the people that run them, the people that own them, the food they produce and the choices they offer to the people of this city. This city is Vancouver, it is not Portland, it will never be Portland. Stop trying to make it Portland! Portland has become what it is without producing “events” like this contrived joke.

Calling your event family friendly because you have a bouncy castle is almost as ridiculous as the lineup to get in. If I put a bouncy castle in a strip club would that make it family friendly? No, No it would not. No parent I know would wait in today’s heat with their kid. I saw parents in line… I don’t know what would make them want to wait that long with a child.

So, I didn’t get to hook up with my foodie pals, I didn’t get to eat any yummy food and now I’m at home wondering if I should’ve just stayed here and watched the NHL draft, it sounds like it was pretty entertaining.



32 thoughts on “Vancouver Food Cart Fest 2013 – I feel like I’ve been punk’d

  1. I was there today and had a great time. The lineups were manageable. The music and break dancers were awesome. I had a great time and I don’t now what Portland has to do with anything. As far as the two dollars it looks like a lot of production and a toony doesn’t seem like a lot of money.

  2. yes, rather than charge a paltry admission fee—with proceeds going to a charity—the organizers should make it free and take a hit on this massively complicated event—that requires permits, rent, staff, and promotions—out of the goodness of their hearts. also, they should make the event less popular “vancouver’s food truck newbies” so there are no lineups. for shame on them!

    and really, who writes “vancouver’s food truck newbies” with a straight face? oh ya, people who could never get paid to write.

    • Interesting that this comment came not long after I shared this post with the event organizers… Coincidence? Must be. Also, I get offers for paid jobs on a weekly basis but my regular job pays me enough that I can keep this as a hobby and stay objective. The fee isn’t the issue, the extra waiting is.

      I come with facts and real world observation, you come with anger. Nice work.

      • Congratulations on the day job that allows you to pursue your passion: posting inane, uniformed rants with lots of exclamation marks and ALL CAPS… lightly dusted with cringe-inducing, holier than thou expressions like “food truck newbies” and the odd conspiracy theory. bravo.

      • You’re sad and as terrifically untalented at research as you are at writing.

        According to that, a portion of door proceeds go towards A Loving Spoonful. Somehow I doubt the charity, or the people they help, were complaining about the $2 admission. (Maybe do a little research about all the great work they do)

      • People at the event were told by the organizers that the admission fee was used to cover expenses. There was no mention of any charity onsite.

      • And just to reiterate my issue wasn’t with the fee it was with the extra lineup. But you knew that because you’ve obviously read the whole post and understand all of the words in it. Oh right, you’re just a troll.

      • Well I’m sure some research, maybe contacting the organizers, would get you some answers. But I guess spreading untruths about an independent, community-minded festival that people really enjoy is a lot easier. Congratulations on getting a few people to read your site because you had to do the unprecedented: wait in line to get into a popular event.

      • The organizers were contacted but I’m sure you’re aware of that. Anonymously commenting on a blog, you’re my hero. Next time I feel that waiting in a pointless line with my 3 year old daughter who has cerebral palsy in the summer heat is a good idea I’ll be sure to spread the good word. Thanks again for reading.

    • Perhaps instead of making customers stand in line to make a donation to a “charity” (to pay for permits, rent, staff and promotions “charity”??) and then for them to willingly stand in line for a selection of great truck food, why don’t you put donation boxes around the site for customers to donate to your “charity”. If they’re having a good time they just might donate more than your demanded $2.00 duh!!

      • Haha that makes too much sense! I’ve learned that there was no charity whatsoever. Sadly Mr. Angrypants has decided to stop commenting.

  3. It’s rather amazing that people read only what they want to read. I didn’t read that a toonie was the issue, or that the food carts were an issue or that he didn’t want to wait in line for the food. I read that the line up to get in was too long and too slow. Perhaps next time the $2 is collected at the food cart BEFORE placing your order? Kill two birds with one stone 🙂

  4. p.s. do NOT correct my grammar — i come from a french background so i make mistakes but my spelling is top notch. 😛

  5. We haven’t been over for the fest this year…..we went quite a bit last year to the Waldorf and really enjoyed it. I agree with you about the waiting to get in, especially with a small child and what looks like no shade. There has to be a better way of doing it.
    My wife and I love the food carts and being in North Van and having to work during the week we are rarely able to visit them so the Waldorf fest last year was just great.
    This year there is a new solution here on the north shore. Thursday andFriday night markets at Shipbuilders Square. 10 plus carts and trucks right on the waters edge with live entertainment and a great market.

    You should come over and check it out sometime
    Some photo’s here.

  6. Hahaha! Facts. Nothing about this blog seems factual. Opinions (and generally negative ones at that) are different than facts last time I checked.

    • Generally negative? Spoken like someone who has never laid eyes on these pages before. Rarely will you find negativity in this blog. You will, however, find comments from anonymous trolls with nothing meaningful to say.

  7. Nothing meaningful to say? Hmm, much like this blog post.

    Troll? No. I am actually a long time follower of this blog. Or rather, was. Maybe you shouldn’t be so rude to the few followers you have.

  8. I agree with WFLBC… every last sentence. I’m glad I didn’t take time to head down for I would just left as well.

  9. Pingback: Vancouver Food Cart Fest 2013 - I feel like I'v...

  10. I like your blog. I enjoyed your opinion and view of the food truck FEST. Altho i do have patience, i have gotten very tired of seemingly lining up for just about everything in this city. Esp if it is a very popular even and it is expected a large crowd turnout….make it quick and easy for people to have access to these events. I am all for a small monetary donation given to charity, but it should be upto what the customer/event goer can afford to pay and not forced. Soon i will be leaving Vancouver for the Okanagan and it’s peaceful surroundings, sunshine and very kind and friendly people. I think the few things i will greatly miss are the food, the parks/beaches and variety of shopping, the variety in general and the ethnic neighborhoods. The general lousy attitudes and negativity of the citizens in metro vancouver will not be missed. I plan to continue reading your blog and i just lastly wish to say to you:keep up your good work writing this blog and i really truly hope one day your little girl is cured and freed from her cerebral palsy. Long may she live! 🙂

  11. Allow me to draw a parallel to two different events: Richmond Night Market and Summer Night Market. One charges entrance fee; another one does not. One is right next to a transit hub; another is somewhat accessible by public transit. In both cases, they are private enterprises and the vendors inside said markets aren’t necessarily related to these enterprises. So, overall, the circumstances are pretty much the same between last year’s event and this year. Which one would you go?

    Unfortunately, I feel there is a sense on entitlement here. If somebody was to organize an event which was previously free and things have changed now because circumstances have changed, why do they can’t change things along with it? If you didn’t feel the $2 would be worth it, you could have easily spoken by turning around and walk away. Given the fact you didn’t pay for parking means, time aside, you didn’t really lose much here. Or, could it be that, there weren’t any priviledge for being a blogger, you feel cheated and are venting now? You didn’t like it. Deal with it. Others did and they aren’t complaining. If you don’t want to pay your toonie, that’s fine. The food carts will be in their usual spot during the weekend. Of course, you will have to walk to different blocks, as they are not conveniently located close to each other.

    As for myself, I knew right away this wasn’t for me. Aside from the fact food truck food is not cheap to begin with, rather than paying the additional toonie, instead, I just went to a sit down restaurant. No need to deal with lines, had a nice table to sit, had the option for patio (in the shaded area) or AC, had beer and food was brought to me. And was watching the NHL draft.

    I do agree in the Portland part, though. Portland is a perfect storm of sorts and, if Vancouver was to even try to mimic that, we will have to get rid of a lot of things, such as everything being in Downtown Vancouver and the NIMBY mentality. There are a lot of areas in town where you could set food pods, similar to Portland’s concept; however, that will never happen because people don’t want to drive around or people living nearby don’t want them right there. Why can’t we see such thing in, say, Commercial Drive? Frasier near 41st (or 49th)? Oak and 49th?

    • Great comments Kimberly, thanks for you’re input. The only issue I have is that the fee wasn’t what bothered me, it was the extra lineup. I have no sense of entitlement as a blogger. I didn’t pay the fee, I turned around and went home.

      As a parent my time is at a premium and the extra waiting time created by the organizers greed (there was no charity involved and the trucks also paid to be there) wasn’t acceptable to me.

      Thanks again for your input, if the fee was the ultimate issue you’d be 100% right. Also I love that you dropped NIMBYs into the conversation, they make everything in Vancouver 100 times harder.


  12. Reminds me if last time I went to Bumbershoot. We had been regulars for 5+ years as they got increasingly line-up happy. Last year we went we had to wait over an hour in line to get in with our pre-paid tx. Then when in we had to wait in line to get stamps that allowed us to wait in line to get tx (maybe) for various shows.

  13. I walked by for a look this past Sunday. After a minute or so of watching the lineup not moving, I decided that I didn’t want to wait in line for half an hour, pay $2 just to get in (without knowing if the food carts would even have food anymore), then stand in line at a food cart to pay for somewhat overpriced fare. Food carts are supposed to be somewhere to get a fast, reasonably priced meal. Not a 1.5 hour ordeal. Compare to Portland – we are nowhere near the same league. This is no way to promote your craft. Its embarrassingly bad.

  14. so howlong are the waits anyway? I agree i dont want to wait an hour to get in and another 45 to get food that is ridiculous..

  15. Here’s just a thought, have more then one entry point so the line ups are dispersed and not so long? I plan on going down to the fest this weekend for a family day and will be driving 45 minutes to get there with my 16 month old son hopefully the lineup is not as crazy as it looks in the photo!

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