Mark the date on your calendars now: Saturday, May 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The location is the Frank A. Vincent Marina on Passaic Ave., Kearny, and the event is the first-ever Kearny Food Truck Festival, sponsored by the Kearny Police Department’s PBA Local 21.
Many surrounding communities have hosted festivals like this one, but the Kearny version is for a very special cause — all proceeds will be used to meet the PBA’s fundraising obligation of $10,000 for the 2016 Tour de Force, a bike ride PBA President John Fabula and nine other Kearny officers will take part in later this year.
On Sept. 11, they’ll start at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and they’ll ride around 300 miles north, ending, fittingly, at Ground Zero in Manhattan, where from the ashes of 9/11, a new complex — including the Freedom Tower [World Trade Center 1] and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum — has risen.
Fabula says the PBA decided to put on a food truck festival because it was a great way to sponsor an event to bring the community together and to raise the money needed for the tour. What’s more, anything on top of the $10,000 raised for the tour will go to a myriad of other special programs the PBA already sponsors.
“Anything in excess will go to support other things we do, like sports sponsorships, our scholarship — things we’ve done for years,” Fabula said.
The food truck festival, itself, promises to be a great day for anyone who attends. The PBA has contracted with a well-known DJ for entertainment the first hour of the event. After that, three local bands will each play two-hour sets.
In addition to the live entertainment, there will be things for the kids to do, too, including a rock-climbing wall, bounce houses — things one might expect to find at a community picnic.
As for the food trucks themselves, there are already 10 that have committed to be at the event, including: Cupcake Carnival, KonaIce, Taqueria Auténtica, No Pao, The French Quarter, Pizza Vita, 1 potato two, Eat My Balls NJ, Fed by Ed and the wildly popular local Stella’s Empanadas. Fabula says if tickets continue to sell quickly, two more trucks could be added by the time May 21 rolls around.
Fabula noted that Mayor Alberto G. Santos and the Kearny Town Council have been extremely supportive of the event thus far, as has the town’s DPW, Health Department and the Kearny Fire Department.
“Their support has been incredible,” Fabula said.
A new direction for the PBA
PBA Local 21 has always been extremely active and generous over the years. But under Fabula’s leadership, the PBA’s new executive board is hoping be more visible in the community. That’s why the success of the food truck festival is so critical.
“We’ve always been active, but we want to be out there more,” Fabula said. “For example, Canstruction has been successful over the years — and we’ve always written a check to support it. But now, we’ll still write the check, but we’ll be there to help — boots on the ground.”
So if you’re interested in going to the food truck festival — and let’s face it, you should be because this is going to be a great day, all for a great cause — log on to kearnypba.com/foodtrucks to buy tickets, which are only $5 per person. You can also increase your donation to include more than just the ticket price.
Fabula says it’s important for the public to buy tickets in advance so the PBA can let the trucks know precisely how many people are attending. This will allow the truck operators to know just how much food they’ll need to bring with them for the event. So be sure not to wait to order tickets.
Now if you can’t make the event, but still want to donate, you can do that, too, on the website.
You can continue to follow the process leading to the May 21 event by following the PBA on social media.
On Facebook, it’s www.Facebook.com/KearnyPBA. On Twitter, it’s www.Twitter.com/KearnyPBA. On Instagram, it’s www.Instagram.com/KearnyPBA.
Fabula says all of the PBA’s social media accounts will include updates about additional food trucks added, the names of the bands [eventually] that will perform and more. So be sure to follow each of the three accounts now.
Several local businesses have already sponsored the event and Fabula would like to thank them: The Bixler Group, Bone Appetit, Mid-Realty and the Rosa Agency. In the meantime, if you’re a local business owner, and would like to sponsor the event — your business will be noted prominently at the event and on the PBA’s website — you should log on to www.KearnyPBA.com/foodtrucks to find out how to do so.
“The tour is a special time for us to remember the officers who died,” Fabula said. “We also hope to bring awareness to how the bond of brotherhood affects all of us. Bringing our community together like this will allow us to bring that awareness to the people of Kearny.”
All while everyone has a great time with great food.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.