Food Truck Wednesdays, a popular weekly fundraiser for the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department, will kick off its second season on March 14 with an Irish-themed pub night for St. Patrick’s Day.
“People loved it, because it’s a great community event,” said Jen Gower, vice president of the department’s auxiliary, referring to last year’s events. “There were a lot of local people coming out and supporting us.”
The event, which is free to enter, will feature about a dozen food trucks, which will convene in the fire department’s parking lot from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., department president John McDowell said.
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on the Saturday after the kickoff, Gower said the March 14 event will have live Irish music from group Ceol Chairde and beer on tap: Guinness Blonde and Killian’s Irish Red.
Food Truck Wednesdays will run weekly until October.
McDowell said the department decided to bring the fundraiser back for a second year because it was financially successful, and they received positive feedback from the community.
Though attendance fluctuated depending on the weather, Gower estimated that some weeks last year the event drew a “few hundred” customers.
“Some weeks were slow, some weeks we were just bombarded with people,” she said.
Though they do not yet have a final count of the money raised, McDowell estimated it was somewhere close to $10,000 — enough to “pay the maintenance on a fire engine for the year.”
Raising funds is particular important as the department looks to meet future goals like replacing an ambulance and the fire engines, which are more than 20 years old, McDowell said. A fire engine can cost more than $700,000.
The department raises money with the food truck events, McDowell said, by inviting Maryland-based company H2 Markets to set up shop in the parking lot and charging rent.
The auxiliary also raises funds selling beverages. McDowell declined to specify the rent the department charges H2 Markets.
Chad Houck, co-owner of H2 Markets, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The department also allows customers to eat inside their hall or under their pavilion during bad weather.
Gower said there is not yet a final list of the trucks that will be present on March 14, but said they will rotate throughout the year.
Looking ahead, Gower said the department is planning to host live music at Food Truck Wednesdays about once a month — mostly local groups — and will be releasing a schedule in the coming weeks.
“It was a very, very profitable fundraiser for us,” Gower said. “We’re just hoping to have it continue growing, making it a nice event for the community.”