While horses line up at the starting gate for the Summer Quarter Horse Meet at the Fair Grounds Race Course, 20 food vendors will set up in their own paddock for a Street Fare Derby on Aug. 15-16.
This year, the derby will feature four bands — Flow Tribe and Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes on Saturday night and John “Papa” Gros Band and Bonerama on Sunday. There’s also a children’s area and arts and crafts vendors. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
“We spent a little time talking about the event and working through some other things at the track, and we got around to the second one, decided to expand it into two days,” senior director of marketing Mark Connor said. “The first day will be a night event, as our Starlight Racing event does well. Nighttime racing with the hot weather might help out a little bit. The second day is daytime.”
There will be quite a few options foodwise at this year’s event. Popular LSU tailgate kitchen Kajun Korner is coming from Baton Rouge, while New Orleans food trucks in attendance include La Cocinita, Burgers Ya Heard, Theo’s Pizza, Peace, Love and Snowballs, Fry Bar NOLA and Crepes a la Carte.
“There’s a lot of good variety, menuwise,” Connor said, “and I think folks are really going to be excited about the offerings, not to mention the entertainment.”
Kevin Merlin, of Crepes a la Carte, said he agrees and is particularly excited about the exposure he’ll be able to get for his business.
“It’s just great to get out to the Fair Grounds, to be in the infield, because not a lot of opportunities come by where you actually get to watch the races from the infield,” he said. “It always brings a great crowd and great exposure for a business, a food truck and a pop-up.”
As well as the normal tickets, a one-hour VIP experience also is available with early access on Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $75 and includes a reserved parking space, commemorative T-shirt and tastings from vendors, accompanied by beers and cocktails.
Kidz Korner will offer two tents with misting fans for parents, so they can nosh on their food truck cuisine as they watch their children play in the bounce houses and take photos at the miniature petting zoo. Arts and crafts vendors are planned but haven’t been announced.
The mission is to show there are good times to be had at the Fair Grounds.
“Our goal is to help expose folks new to racing, new to the track to come out and have a good time,” Connor said. “Hopefully, they’ll come back during the year or visit one of our facilities in town.”