Columbus Food Truck Festival 2022: Here's what you need to know before you go

·5 min read

It has been a summer filled with festivals, but for foodies in Columbus, there is still much to look forward to as the Columbus Food Truck Festival returns Friday through Sunday at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard.

With the festival's vast food truck selections and live performance roster, it promises to be both a delicious and danceable event for all guests!

One of the festival organizers, Chaz Kaplan, got the idea for the event in 2011 and in July 2012, the first Columbus Food Truck Festival took place. About 20,000 people showed up, according to Kaplan.

"Everybody ran out of food," Kaplan said. "We ran out of drinks and it was chaos. It was crazy, but it was amazing."

Columbus Food Truck Festival:Looking back at 2021 festival, first held at Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard

Since then, the festival took place along the Scioto Mile but moved to the Franklin County Fairgrounds last year out of respect for COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Another festival highlight? A portion of the proceeds from the event benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Music Loves Ohio. Both nonprofits have an established history of serving children and families in and around central Ohio. Since the festival’s inception in 2011, organizers have donated over $75,000 to local charities from the event’s proceeds, according to the festival's website.

The charitable component is just one aspect of the event, and there is much to enjoy. Want the details? Read on!

When and where will the Columbus Food Truck Festival take place?

The Columbus Food Truck Festival, Hilliard Edition, will run from 4-11 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., Hilliard. The event is rain or shine.

How much is admission?

Single day tickets cost $5; weekend tickets good for all three days cost $10 and are available in advance online only; children 12 years and younger are admitted for free, but must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older.

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What types of food will there be?

The food vendor options are seemingly endless this year, with many trucks making their debuts at the festival. AllenMarie's Delicious Dishes (American cuisine), El Sabor de la Vida (Colombian cuisine) and Kabobske Mediterranean (Mediterranean/Lebanese cuisine) are just a few of the first-time vendors.

Plenty of fan favorites have chosen to return to the festival this year, such as Cupzilla Korean BBQ, NAICCO Cuisine (Native American street food), Zaki Food Inc (Lebanese, Turkish, Middle Eastern Fusion cuisine) and Fork In Nigeria (Nigerian cuisine).

For guests with a sweet tooth, the festival boasts Lyle's Crepes, The Cheesecakery, The Mini Donuts Factory, and even Graeter's Ice Cream will be in attendance.

Food Network star Chad Rosenthal, OSU basketball forward Zed Key to appear

In addition to the food, the festival will feature a series of live cooking demonstrations with Ohio State University alum and Food Network star Chad Rosenthal courtesy of the United Soybean Board, plus an autograph-signing session with Ohio State University men's basketball forward Zed Key.

Restaurateur Rosenthal has made numerous appearances on the Food Network, including “The Next Food Network Star,” “Chopped,” and most recently “Beat Bobby Flay” where he "beat" Flay with his "Motel Fried Chicken."

Rosenthal will be frying up his now-famous recipe at the festival.

"I love doing (demonstrations) it's great," Rosenthal said. "A lot of times it's at events where it's not a bunch of food people, but at a food truck event like this, that's the purpose for live demos. People want to see what you're doing and cooking."

The Ohio State University’s men’s basketball player and power forward Zed Key will also make a special guest appearance complete with an autograph signing at the festival from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Festival attendees can bring items to be authorgraphed.

Music: Here's who's performing at Columbus Food Truck Festival

The festival will have two stages with live music. On the main stage, performers include Willie Phoenix (who is headlining on Friday at 9:30 p.m.), Angela Perley (who is headlining on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.), and The Winnie Cooper Project (who is headlining on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.).

Rounding out the Main Stage are performances by Trio Fa2 (4 p.m. Friday), Adam Paddock (6 p.m. Friday), The Deeptones 7:30 p.m. Friday), The Infinite Flower Machine (11 a.m. Saturday), School of Rock (Sat. at 12:30 p.m. Saturday), Blue Cats (Sat. at 2 p.m.), Birdshack (Sat. at 4 p.m.), Zoo Trippin (Sat. at 6 p.m.), Andy Shaw Band (7:30 p.m.), Jocef Michael Band (noon Sunday), Large Mouth Bass Band (1:30 p.m. Sunday), and The Big Badd (3:30 p.m. Sunday).

On the acoustic stage, performers include Freer Hall (4 p.m. Friday), TJ Shoemaker (5:30 p.m. Friday), Faye (7 p.m. Friday), Joey Viola (8:45 p.m. Friday), Vivid Gardens (11:45 a.m. Saturday), Ryan Wilkins (1:15 p.m. Saturday), Mark Rhodes (2:30 p.m. Saturday), Jared Denen (4:15 p.m. Saturday), Johnny Moderation (6:45 p.m. Saturday), Eric Nassau (8:30 p.m. Saturday), Courtney Gail (12:30 p.m. Sunday), Topher James (2 p.m. Sunday), and Andy Shaw 3:15 p.m. Sunday).

The festival would be amiss if it didn’t have a special activity area for the youngest foodies in attendance. The Hilliard Historical Village located on the fairgrounds will be a respite for the kiddos with activities and a play area to burn off some energy.

What about parking?

Limited on-site parking is included with admission. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis for ticketholders. On-street parking is also located around the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

Want more information?

For directions, the complete list of participating mobile food vendors, as well as the schedule of activities and musicians, visit ColumbusFoodTruckFest.com or the festival’s Facebook page.

David Kwiatkowski is a features intern for The Columbus Dispatch. You can reach him on Twitter @kwiatkdm or his email dkwiatkowski@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus Food Truck Festival 2022 returns to Hilliard Aug. 19-21