Plainfield Park District hosts first ‘World of Food Trucks’ festival

A worker hands out an order of funnel cake at the My Funnel truck at the World of Food Trucks on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Renwick Community Park in Plainfield

Plainfield — The Plainfield Park District hosted its inaugural “World of Food Trucks” festival Saturday as part of an effort to promote diversity.

More than 1,000 people flocked to the Prairie Activity and Recreation Center for a sunny afternoon of live entertainment, crafts and food from around the world.

The event featured 11 food trucks from Chicago and the south suburbs, representing cuisines from Taiwan, Italy, Mexico, Greece, the Philippines and regions of the U.S. from Maine to Louisiana to Hawaii.

“We found out about the event through Facebook, and we really like it so far,” Ytzel Pena and Polo Morales said.

Guests line up outside the Tortuga Feliz Mexican food truck at the Plainfield Park District's Food Truck festival.

“We’re big foodie people,” Ytzel said. “The Hawaiian truck is 10 out of 10, and the [Taiwanese] boba truck’s drinks are really refreshing.”

“It’s gone really well so far,” said Stephen Franklin, the park district’s recreation supervisor for special events, who organized the event. “We are definitely going to bring it back next year.”

Franklin said 1,000 people claimed free tickets for the activity on Eventbright, and more than 5,000 RSVP’d on Facebook.

“I got here at 10:45, and there were already people showing up, even though we didn’t start until 11,” Plainfield Park District Deputy Director Maureen Nugent said. “We had several hundred people show up in just the first hour.”

Grace Sula, left to right, and her friend Brooklyn Winder enjoy lemonade while spending time with their mothers Megan Sula and Michelle Winder at the World of Food Trucks on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Renwick Community Park in Plainfield

In addition to the food booths, there were vendors from around the community, including a Girl Scout cookie booth, Ghost Owl Studios T-shirts and apparel, and henna tattoos by Natalie Van, an award-winning henna artist representing Indian culture for the festival.

The event also featured multicultural craft stations, including Japanese origami and Native American dream catchers, and performances throughout the day by Polish polka band Die Kellerknaben and a trio of Brazilian samba dancers from Thata Samba Show, which encouraged audience participation as the viewers enjoyed their lunch options.

Thata Samba Show dancers perform at the Plainfield Park District's World of Food Trucks Event.

“We want to have a focus on [diversity, equity and inclusion], and we wanted an opportunity to showcase cultures that typically don’t get showcased,” Franklin said. “How often do you go to a community event and see samba dancers?”

“Dancing with our fox mascot!” Nugent added, drawing attention to the performers with the park district’s mascot, Scout, who were entertaining a group of attendees, dancing and posing for photos.

People wait to get pizza from Tievoli, work fire pizza truck, at the World of Food Trucks on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Renwick Community Park in Plainfield

Many guests said they were excited to see the festival come to Plainfield after attending similar events in years past in Lemont and Naperville.

“We went to the one at the Forge in Lemont last year,” said Jessica Bradley, who was attending with her husband, Tracy, and their two young children. “I think this is great. The food is amazing. We’ve tried all the booths except for the funnel cakes already. Everybody has been really friendly, and the food is great. The tacos from Burrito Xpress were just chef’s kiss.”

The Bradleys said that having been to one event before helped them know what to expect for this one, as they brought chairs and a blanket to have a picnic with their purchases.

Jimmy Garcia, of Plainfield, gets his face airbrushed at the World of Food Trucks on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Renwick Community Park in Plainfield