Put away the scarves, boots and winter coats and pull out the sunglasses, pint glasses and hearty appetites.
Springtime is officially here and in New Mexico that means the start of outdoor festival season.
The Sixth Annual Great New Mexico Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival returns to New Mexico for the first time since 2019 this Saturday, March 26. The event will be held at the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum grounds. The event is being organized by Food Truck Festivals of America, a national company started in 2011 to promote and support local food trucks.
The company is now under new ownership. Anthony Pepe, who started as director of operations for Food Truck Festivals of American a few years ago, purchased the company in November of 2020. Pepe is a self-proclaimed foodie. He said his goal right now is helping food trucks across America get back on track. He tried to make a return to New Mexico in the fall of 2021, but said it wasn’t possible.
This year’s Albuquerque event has already been wildly successful. He said there was a waiting list for food trucks who wanted to join the festival. There will also be 37 artisans selling their wares, the largest showing at any festival so far.
“It’s been off the charts unbelievable,” Pepe said. “It’s one of the most signed-up events. Everyone wanted to get into this event. They are trying to get back to normal these small businesses.”
He said ticket sales are triple what they usually are at this time. They are expecting a crowd of at least 7,500 as in years past, maybe more he said.
The Albuquerque festival kicks off at noon, but a VIP ticket provides access an hour earlier. There are two VIP packages, which are only available online. The first costs $40 and comes with three craft beers, early access to the festival, a Koozie and unlimited bottled water. The $25 package comes with early access, a free dessert, a Koozie and unlimited bottled water.
Attendees can also buy six beer tickets with their admission for a total of $41. This year’s festival will include a beer tent with product from more than two dozen local and national vendors. Some of the local offerings include Steel Bender Brewyard, Bosque, Little Toad Creek and Sierra Blanca.
There will be more than three dozen food trucks specializing in desserts, New Mexican food, barbecue and pizza. Some of the food trucks include Blacxican Cocina, Burrito Baby, Kimo’s Hawaiian BBQ, Phat Stax Burgers, Sánchez Tacos, Street Food Institute, Umami Moto and With Love Waffles.
Artisans and vendors include Goats n’ Bees, Rustic Rose Closet, The Doodle Shop and Tribal Creations.
Lawn chairs are welcomed and encouraged.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free. Military personnel and first responders also get free entry with valid identification at the gate.