aerial photo of downtown street filled with foodtrucks

Foodstock combines the tastes of Kentucky with the traditions of Derby

City of Somerset hosts annual food truck event April 30

The City of Som­er­set’s annu­al Food­stock food truck fes­ti­val will have Der­by fla­vor this year, fea­tur­ing an art com­po­nent and fam­i­ly activ­i­ties that cel­e­brate the most famous two min­utes in sports.

The city intend­ed to add a Der­by Fes­ti­val to its event line­up in 2020 but was forced to can­cel the event because of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Bring­ing back the idea by com­bin­ing it with the city’s already suc­cess­ful Food­stock offers the best of both worlds in one event, said Leslie Ikerd, tourism and events direc­tor.

“Both the Der­by and Food­stock cel­e­brate so many things that are unique­ly Ken­tucky,” Ikerd said. “Local food. Art. Music. Hors­es. Bour­bon. We decid­ed we could bring all of those togeth­er into one event with our down­town as the cen­ter point — our way of shar­ing the sto­ry of our beau­ti­ful com­mu­ni­ty and state.”

Food is of course the major attrac­tion at Food­stock, with 24 ven­dors from Som­er­set and across the Blue­grass com­mit­ted to attend­ing.

Foodstock’s art com­po­nent — a tra­di­tion of every city fes­ti­val — will chal­lenge local and region­al artists to illus­trate how they see Som­er­set on a jock­ey silk, a col­or­ful sym­bol of the Der­by. Eight artists will paint their silks live dur­ing the fes­ti­val, art­work that will lat­er be avail­able for pur­chase to sup­port arts ini­tia­tives in the com­mu­ni­ty.

Arts activ­i­ties for chil­dren will be avail­able through­out the day at the Pulas­ki Coun­ty Judi­cial Cen­ter Plaza. Inflat­a­bles, corn­hole and life-size games like Con­nect 4 and Jen­ga will be avail­able to play in this area as well.

And then there’s the music. This year the city will bring back its Busker Music Con­test, a crowd favorite that debuted at the 2019 Streets and Eats Fes­ti­val. Ten local and region­al musi­cians will play acoustic sets at three dif­fer­ent loca­tions dur­ing the fes­ti­val (Cit­i­zens Nation­al Bank alley, Judi­cial Cen­ter Plaza and Foun­tain Square), and patrons will vote for their favorites by plac­ing tokens in a buck­et where the artist is per­form­ing. The first bag of 10 tokens is free for every per­son enter­ing the fes­ti­val, and addi­tion­al bags of 10 can be pur­chased at the gate for $1. The musi­cian that receives the most tokens between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. is the win­ner and will be the open­ing act at the city’s Moon­light Fes­ti­val in Octo­ber. A sched­ule of play­ing times will be released in the com­ing weeks.

“I love this com­pe­ti­tion because it allows patrons to expe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent kinds of music as they walk through­out the fes­ti­val and cre­ates a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent atmos­phere,” Ikerd said. “We thought it would be a great way to book our first act for Moon­light Fes­ti­val and hope every­one will come out and vote for the musi­cians they love most.”

Admis­sion to Food­stock is free and gates will open at 11 a.m. Any­one enter­ing the fes­ti­val who wants to buy alco­holic bev­er­ages must first pur­chase a $5 spir­it band at the gate. Tokens for the Busker Music Con­test will be avail­able at gates as well.

May­or Alan Keck said he loves the way Food­stock will mar­ry the sto­ries of Som­er­set and Ken­tucky through the Der­by theme.

“We were of course dis­ap­point­ed when we had to can­cel our Der­by fes­ti­val, so I’m thrilled we have found a unique way to incor­po­rate this idea into one of our sig­na­ture events,” Keck said. “Cel­e­brat­ing who we are is so impor­tant in shar­ing our immense pride with peo­ple around the coun­try. When oth­ers hear that sto­ry, they want to be a part of it — and this is how we grow and thrive as a com­mu­ni­ty. I’m look­ing for­ward to kick­ing off our 2022 fes­ti­val sea­son with friends and neigh­bors and cel­e­brat­ing Som­er­set and Ken­tucky togeth­er.”

For a com­plete list of ven­dors, artists and musi­cians par­tic­i­pat­ing in Food­stock, vis­it https://seesomerset.com/event/foodstock/.

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