ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a family-friendly event known to draw some big crowds over the years. But the pandemic has organizers of a popular city park food truck event trying to balance public safety, with their goal of supporting local businesses. So, they’re looking to expand.
Tasty Tuesday at Hyder Park in southeast Albuquerque normally packs the park with families and food trucks once-a-week from May through October. “This year we had a late start just trying to balance safety while supporting small businesses,” explained Tasty Tuesday Organizer, Paige Romero.
Seeing Tasty Tuesday start up again in mid-June excited longtime locals like Kim Seidler. “At times like this, we can kind of briefly forget what’s going on around the country, and that’s really important I think for us to be able to do from time to time.”
Still, the crowd and the business isn’t what it used to be. “Well we’re 70% down,” said Rafael Alvarez, who runs the Pop Fizz Paletas truck. “This used to be at least four times more, or five times more,” he said, pointing to the crowd.
To keep crowds at a minimum, there are now only three food trucks, down from the usual five or six. There’s no live music and no yoga classes.
While music and yoga classes are still being promoted through their online platforms, Romero said event organizers had the idea to expand Tasty Tuesday to Fridays as well.
Romero explained the thought behind the expansion was to disperse crowds and give people more opportunities to support local food trucks. “We always want community feedback and want to hear what other people’s thoughts are,” she said.
Neighbors sounded off online about the idea, some in support of Friday nights. However, not everyone was on board. Some neighbors commented, “Too many people means more risk,” and “once a week is quite enough.”
“The bigger concern for me is the ecological impact,” explained Elizabeth Barnett, who grew up in the area. She said she enjoys the event, but doesn’t want to promote crowds more than one night a week at Hyder.
“If they want to hold it in another location, I would be more than willing to travel to that location and participate in it, and try to get a following started for them in another park,” said Barnett. She said the city already has a two-day trash pick-up scheduled at the park as a result of Tasty Tuesday. “There are other neighborhoods in other parts of the city that could benefit from an event like this,” Barnett added.
Organizers listened, taking Friday nights at Hyder Park off the table. They’re now looking to other city parks to share in the experience.
Romero said she’s excited to try and get other food trucks on board if they’re interested. The City of Albuquerque requires food trucks to have proper food licensing and permits through the Environmental Health Department.