Kicked out of Spencer Smith Park, food truck festival will leave Burlington


Published October 17, 2023 at 4:46 pm

food truck festival Burlington

Organizers of the Burlington Food Truck Festival say they will look to other cities to host the event now that they have been told they are no longer welcome at Spencer Smith Park.

The likely move follows a decision by the City of Burlington to ban the trucks from the park after complaints from downtown restaurants that the festival was siphoning off customers.

But festival organizers say the only other viable space to hold the event — Burloak Park — is not an option because that park will be undergoing a large construction project over the next two years.

“While a beautiful upgrade for passive use by the community, this construction project (at Burloak Park) will negate the use of this park as a festival or event venue,” said Been Freeman, executive director of the food truck festival.

Freeman said that being forced to leave Spencer Smith Park leaves the vendors no alternative but to move the event to a neighbouring municipality.

City councillors ultimately agreed with downtown businesses that have long complained the competition provided by the food trucks is bad for taxpaying local restaurants.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association and the Burlington Restaurant Association have also argued that festival goers take up valuable downtown parking spaces during peak summer hours.

The festival, which usually takes place in July for three days, has been held for the past seven years at Spencer Smith and brings together about 20 truck vendors that sell a variety of food. The event attracts up to 40,000 people. Organizers say the event brings in about $11 million a year in economic benefit to Burlington.

Ward 4 councillor Shawna Stolte said the City is not forcing the festival to leave town, but stressed it has to be located someplace other than Spencer Smith Park. However, she acknowledged that while it may not be feasible for this festival to continue, other vendors may be welcomed to have a similar event in Burlington.




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