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3:50 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Prescott's first food truck festival stirs excitement for future of untapped market

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->People wait in line for the Gringo Dillas food truck from Flagstaff Saturday afternoon September 12 during the first Prescott Food Truck Festival at Mile High Middle School.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->People wait in line for the Gringo Dillas food truck from Flagstaff Saturday afternoon September 12 during the first Prescott Food Truck Festival at Mile High Middle School.

Looking to the dark skies, event organizer for the first-ever Prescott food truck festival Steve Gottlieb said bring it on.

"With this beautiful cloud cover, I don't need as many tents," Gottlieb said.

Despite the ominous weather, 750 people were already roaming the football field at Mile High Middle School looking for beer and grub by 1 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 12.

"I think we're going to peak out at 3,000 [people]," Gottlieb said.

The one-day festival started at noon and continued into the early evening.

Twelve food trucks from throughout the state were scheduled to make it, but two broke down on their way up from Phoenix.

"That hill is brutal on a 1974 engine," Gottlieb said.

Fritas Street, a food truck based in Phoenix, was almost a victim as well.

"We stopped for gas on our way up here and after filling we went to turn on the generator and it just wouldn't start," said Braden Jones, co-owner of the business.

Fortunately, their generator repair guy was available and able to quickly switch out the carburetor.

"We slammed on the gas and barely made it up here on time," Jones said.

Jill's Yavapai Grill was one of the two local food trucks that made it to the event.

Jill Moore has been cooking for parties, friends and businesses for years and decided to ease into the nearly non-existent food truck scene in Prescott about a year ago.

While she was hustling around in her food truck's kitchen to feed the ever-growing line of hungry customers at the event, her husband, Cliff Moore, was kicking back with a beer and had a moment to speak.

"We've been at several events so far such as the 4th of July celebration at Pioneer Park," Moore said. "We've done several rodeo events. We're in Cottonwood a lot at the fairgrounds over there."

They also do catering. Their most popular dish is the Cheesy Javelina, which is a gourmet cheese sandwich with pulled pork on sourdough bread.

The food truck movement has grown significantly in cities across the country and it's not uncommon to see the portable restaurants parked at random locations throughout Phoenix and Tucson. Prescott, on the other hand, isn't even in the game. And the reason is:

"You can't park them on the street here," Gottlieb said. "They're only allowed on private property. It's a city council thing."

Jania Hughbanks, who was enjoying some barbecue tri-tip from Emmett's SmokeHouse BBQ, the other local food truck in town that was at the festival, said she would like to see food trucks posted-up around town.

"I think it would be fun to see them parked right downtown near the square during the day," Hughbanks said.

Moore doesn't think that will happen anytime soon, but he would like to at least see a little more growth in the local market in the near future.

"What would be nice is to get an event like this going somewhere in the city every month, because there are several local food trucks here and I think people would really look at it," Moore said. "It's a great way for people to get together and have a good time."

In addition to food, the festival featured 12 types of beer and musical entertainment. The Cross-eyed Possum, Drew and Steven, Funk Frequency and The Black Moods played at different times during the day. There was also a Kids' Zone.

Tim's Auto Group was the main sponsor for the event and all of the proceeds were donated to the local Meals on Wheels organization.

If you missed the festival, don't despair. Gottlieb said this is only the beginning.

"We're going to definitely do this two times next year with both being three times the size," Gottlieb said.

Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105, or 928-642-7864.