OSMI “food cart fest” delights sold-out crowd

Discover why thousands of people paid to eat dinner – in a parking lot – and loved it …

With the sell-out crowd pouring in, this year’s Eat Mobile event at OMSI gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Note: This story, originally posted on May 3,
became corrupted – this is a repost of this story.

For the second year in a row, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) hosted the long-running Willamette Week Eat Mobile food festival in their north parking lot on April 27.

Instead of vehicles, the lot was filled with food stands, carts, and trucks of all varieties – coming from all over the greater Portland area. Many of the participants, however, hailed from East Portland.

OMSI Event Manager Andrea Middleton shows off this year’s T-shirt, moments after as the event begins.

“We’re happy to be hosting this event again this year,” said OMSI Event Manager Andrea Middleton as the outdoor feast was getting underway. “We’re going to have a big turnout this evening.”

A total of 48 food cart operators were set up and ready to serve samples to the crowd, which was already lined up around OMSI to the south.

Jason Moreno and Jake Madosik of J Mo’s Sandwich Shack – now serving up good grub at Carts on Foster (SE Foster Road at 52nd. Ave)  – says they don’t bother with buns, as they invite folks to taste their meat.

OMSI’s north parking area, turned into Portland’s largest food cart pod, fills with eager, hungry patrons.

Sarah Hansen and Carina Beneventi from Scoop Handmade Ice Cream at 50th and Division hand out their chilly treats.

“We’re not selling any tickets today,” Middleton told East Portland News. “We sold out before noon yesterday – all 3,500 tickets! I was still getting many phone calls, asking if the event was really sold out, and begging to buy tickets.”

Some of the proceeds go to support OMSI programs, Middleton said. “We are super excited about this; this kind of response indicates the popularity of this event.”

These gals from Hungry Heart Cupcakes in inner SE Portland find many takers for their tiny baked delights.

From his home base in southeast Portland, KIND Bars Ambassador Marcus Thompson takes delight in “KINDing” those who pass by with free sample bars.

In keeping with the non-profit museum’s sustainability efforts, OMSI powered the festival with solar, wind, and bio-diesel generators. “All of the food waste will be composted, and the beverage containers recycled,” Middleton assured.

If you want to attend next year’s food cart fair – typically held on the last Saturday evening in April – keep a sharp lookout for the announcement, Middleton suggested. “The limited preview tasting tickets sold out in one day.”

Although the crowd grows large, the atmosphere remains mellow at the 2013 Eat Mobile festival.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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