The day is almost here when dining out means trading in a menu for a map with a wide range of choices just steps away.
There will be 32 participants with favorites like burgers and pizza to unusual fare including haggis and lobster grilled cheese when the Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition returns this weekend.
The fifth event will be from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 in Veterans Park. Admission is free and it will run rain or shine.
The process is about keeping things fresh and familiar. Whereas the competition has had up to 40 trucks, the committee capped it 32 this time.
There will be 19 returning favorites and 13 new additions.
Favorites: Seven trucks have attended all five events including Firehouse Crab Balls – which comes in from Maryland — Hunger Paynes, Marty’s Waffles, Streetpops, Pitabilities, Sugarsnap! and Mojo Tago.
New truck: A high-profile newcomer is Cousins Maine Lobster from Columbus, which was featured on the popular series “Shark Tank” and offers a variety of lobster dishes.
“It’s a good, diverse lineup,” said Eddie Bell, marketing chair.
Three of 2017’s winners will return: grand-prize winner Smokin’ Bee-Bee-Q, runner-up Streetpops and People’s Choice winner The Beerded Pig.
Area judges vote on the competition winners, which can earn a top prize of $10,000, while the People’s Choice is voted for by attendees with the competition’s mobile app. The winners will be announced at 5:30 p.m.
There will be a beer garden with craft beers from Mother Stewart’s Brewery and other brands. Wine, water and soft drinks will also be available.
Performers will include guitarist Andy Fox (11 a.m. to noon); blues, bluegrass and rock from Todd the Fox (12:30-1:30 p.m.); jazz, soul and funk with Tru Love Band (2:15-3:15 p.m.); rock, dance, indie, pop and country from Omega Point (4-5:30 p.m.); and alt-country/Americana with Red Idle Rejects (6:30-8 p.m.).
One of the highlights will be a reunion show for Omega Point, whose last concert was here a year ago.
When seeking a new signature fundraising event, the Springfield Rotary Club found the perfect competition, having done races previously.
“Springfield likes a get-together. The location is comfortable with the amphitheater and restrooms, just a great community event,” said Rotary Club president Ross McGregor.
The four previous events have allowed Rotary to earn more than $100,000 for its charitable programs including services for area people with disabilities.
“Rotary is all about giving back,” McGregor said.
Parking is free and will be available at several areas around the park and beyond. More information is available at www.springfieldfoodtruck.com.
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