As food trucks continue to draw crowds to Victoria Park Lake this weekend, support for local business continues to be questioned.
Predicted to attract 15000 attendees over the four-day Shepparton Food Truck Carnival event, concerns have been raised over a lack of local presence and produce at the event.
Due to the popularity of food truck festivals across the region and Shepparton in particular, Greater Shepparton City Council this year enlisted the help of The Food Truck Carnival Company to organise the carnival event and co-ordinate a selection of food and beverages to coincide with the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Tour.
Most trucks at the festival are part of the Melbourne-based company, which travels across Victoria for various events.
Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Carl Hainsworth believes local businesses should have been given priority in offering their services and produce.
‘‘My concern is that local traders weren’t given the opportunity,’’ Mr Hainsworth said.
‘‘I’ll be asking the question: Were locals asked?’’
After co-ordinating the bar at last year’s event, The Cheeky Grog Co. owner/operator Jenny Morey was disappointed at not getting an invitation.
‘‘It’s good to offer new food and it’s a great event but I think there’s lots of locals that could have been given a shot,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a bit disappointing as we had a big bar last year and I feel we should have been given the opportunity.
‘‘I believe all last year’s vendors should at least be informed as to why council neglected local traders because we all worked extremely hard to make the initial carnival a great success last year and feel we are all owed an explanation.’’
Fryers Street Food Store and The Teller Collective part-owner Tracey Marsden is concerned by the lack of support for local produce at the event.
‘‘It would be great if more businesses were able to put forward their local produce,’’ she said.
‘‘We need to be putting local traders forward and make sure the council is supporting local first,’’ Ms Marsden said.
‘‘I would expect a drop (in business) this weekend and I’ll be taking my figures to the council.’’
A Greater Shepparton City Council spokesperson said the food festival was an inclusive event and added ‘‘any interested local traders were welcome to apply and register with FTCC if they were interested.’’
The spokesperson said the event supported the community by providing economic support in other ways.
‘‘30-40 per cent will be visiting from outside the region with accommodation, hospitality and other local retailers benefiting from the influx of visitors,’’ the spokesperson said.
Prominent ice cream vendor Mr Sheppy is the only local food trader participating in this year’s event.
The food truck festival finishes tomorrow.