Six Things To Check Out at the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival

New Jersey has food festivals all throughout the year. Some feature the best wines and beers. Others showcase delectable desserts or the freshest produce. From barbecue to seafood, New Jersey food is worthy of being celebrated. However, sometimes it is not just the food but the manner in which it is prepared. This is why the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is such a great event for the whole family.

If you have never heard of the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival, then let these six facts whet your appetite.

1. The venue. As with any food festival, the venue for food truck events is critical. There needs to be plenty of space for all the vendors, which is why the Monmouth Park racetrack is such a great choice. Located in Oceanport, the track first opened in 1870. Over the years, it has changed ownership numerous times. The track has a diverse history, hosting numerous races including the Champion Stakes and the Monmouth Cup. Today, its most popular racing event is the Haskell Invitational, which is a test run for three-year-olds. The track is one mile in length, which is perfect for a range of race types. While this venue is best known for its racing, it also serves as a fantastic gathering point for other events throughout the year, including the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival. At Monmouth Park, there is plenty of room for all the trucks and countless visitors. Guests can peruse all the dining options and easily find a place to sit and mingle while they enjoy their food.

2. The time. The popular Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival expanded into a three-day extravaganza in 2014. Relying on a long weekend, the festival now offers three full days of food and entertainment. This not only gives the vendors more time to prove their prowess, but it gives guests the opportunity to pick and choose their weekend schedule. Some guests may pick one day to come and experience the tastes, but others may capitalize on the extended time frame by coming back every day. This way, it is easy to try as many vendors as possible without getting too full. The 2014 event  took place over Memorial Day weekend, offering three days of good weather, good times and good food.

3. The music. The food alone may be enough to attract visitors. However, it is the entire ambiance that makes this festival a worthwhile weekend retreat. Live entertainment goes throughout the weekend, featuring various performers. The festival has no problem attracting local favorites like After the Reign, which is one of the most popular New Jersey country bands. In addition to this local flavor, the festival is drawing bigger names on its lineup, including upcoming country hit Austin Webb, who performed at the festival in 2014. Webb is a growing presence on the country scene, having made his debut on the Grand Old Opry in 2013. Musical stylings will vary from year to year, but it is clear that the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is more than a single-note experience for those who attend.

4. The food. While there are many things to enjoy about the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival, it really all comes down to the food. These vendors make a living selling food, so it is no surprise that they serve very good food. Fortunately for visitors, with so many trucks represented at the festival, there are endless possibilities for every snack. Trucks include Mary Queen of Pork, Red Hook Lobster and Taqueria Autentica. Try some pizza at Enzo’s Pizza, or get a hot dog at Max’s Famous Hot Dogs on Wheels. Other options include specialty stops like Oink and the Moo BBQ and the E&S Original Steak-n-Take. More general offerings can be found at The Morris Truck, Five Sisters Catering, Four Boys Concessions, Jersey Johnny’s Grill or Ahh! La Cart.

5. The dessert. After a satisfying meal, there is always room for something sweet. The good news is that the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival has no shortage of dessert options in addition to its range of main course selections. The options include everything from fresh desserts at Amanda Bananas to delectable treats at Chimney Cake Factory. For a specialty cupcake, the Cupcake Carnivale is the perfect stop. There are also cold desserts at Kona Ica and Hoffman’s Ice Cream. Many other trucks have dessert options on their menus, which means there is a refreshing dessert for every person in attendance.

6. The competition. The Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is not just a gathering of all the best food trucks in the state. It is a competition to determine the very best of the best. With so many food trucks represented, there is no better venue to judge the range of food truck options. A panel of deserving judges is gathered each year, sampling a range of dishes to determine which truck stands out from all the rest. These judges hold food trucks to high standards, considering the taste, quality and presentation from each truck. As an added perk, visitors are also allowed to vote in a People’s Choice contest, which lets visitors highlight their favorites.

With so much going on, it is clear that the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival is one that shouldn’t be missed. Interest has grown substantially in this unique event, and each year has been more impressive than the last. From the venue to the music, from the dinner to the dessert, this festival is likely to be a favorite for years to come.