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Foodaroo attracts more than 1,000 hungry folks to Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The first-ever “Foodaroo” attracted more than 1,000 people to downtown Middlebury this past Sunday to sample unctuous edibles, hear a variety of great music and dance up a storm.
Foodaroo was a joint effort of Middlebury UndergrounD (MUD) — a local organization dedicated to curating local events and arts offerings — and Town Hall Theater (THT). The event showcased, among other things, products from nine food trucks, a variety of craft purveyors and an abundance of entertainment from such well-known bands as The Grift, Josh Panda and Kat Wright & the Indomitable Soul Band.
“It was great,” THT Operations Manager Haley Rice said of Foodaroo, which she hopes will become an annual event. “We were really impressed by how many people came out.”
Organizers ended up selling almost 10,000 food tickets at $1 each to customers who redeemed them for bite-sized portions of offerings from the food trucks. The menu options ranged from staple munchies like wood-fired pizza, to the more exotic, including paella, sushi, fried avocado tacos, stuffed calamari and pork wings. Featured food truck vendors included The Hindquarter, Phantom, NOFA-VT’s Mobile Pizza, Lu.Lu, Southern Smoke, The Diner, Himitsu Sushi and Jam Bakery.
Many vendors did so well that they ran out of food before the end of Foodaroo, which ran from 3 to 8 p.m.
“New England Culinary Institute brought 50 pounds of lobster for lobster rolls and ran out in an hour,” Rice said.
“I think all (the vendors) made a nice profit.”
Diners also got a taste of some fine music, in the Town Hall Theater and outdoors. A passing rainstorm could not put a damper on the festivities, as evidenced by the fabulous feats of street performers and a “flash mob dance party” on Merchants Row during which participants formed a conga line in the street.
Lisa and Andy Mitchell, co-founders of MUD, were also pleased with the results of Foodaroo’s inaugural run and are eager to bring it back in 2016.
“Our only regret was that the lines were a little too long,” Andy Mitchell said of the popularity of the food trucks.
The Mitchells noted that there were to have been 12 food trucks at Foodaroo, but three backed out for various reasons. A showing of 12 vendors would have helped shorten the lines, they said. The Mitchells vowed to recruit more food trucks for next year.
“We were thrilled with the turnout and enthusiasm that people brought to the event,” Lisa Mitchell said. “What we want to do is build on this event for next year.”
The Mitchells were pleased to have landed some good sponsors to help defray the costs of the Foodaroo entertainers, most of whom did not charge full freight for their appearances, they noted gratefully.
“We are not in this to make money,” Andy Mitchell said. “We are looking for a way to make this self-sustaining down the road.”
What’s next for MUD? The non-profit organization will collaborate with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival on some events this August.
More to come on that later.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
Photos by Max Kraus

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