PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you were planning on attending a food truck event at Colt State or Goddard State parks this summer, you may be out of luck.
The DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation has suspended the PVD Food Truck events at Rhode Island State Parks this summer due to the increasing impact on park staff, facilities, and regular park users, according to a post on Facebook.
“These extremely popular events draw large crowds from across the region. The additional pressure on parking areas and open space during the height of the park season is placing a strain on normal operations,” the post read.
PVD Food Trucks said they heard the news after a “great night” at Colt State Park in Bristol on Wednesday.
According to PVD Food Trucks Founder Eric Weiner, they have five to six more events that are scheduled and were approved for both state parks. He says they are working on a solution to work it out with the state or find an alternate location before their next scheduled event on Wednesday, June 9 at Goddard State Park.
“The small business owners that own the food trucks, local musicians, and the community that comes out to our free events rely and look forward to our events,” Weiner said.
DEM Chief Public Affairs Officer Mike Healey said they agreed to a one-year pilot program to hold eight events with PVD Food Truck to assess the impact of the events.
“There was a parking problem when more than 1,500 people in 600 cars overwhelmed the 197 parking spots, ” Healey said. “DEM needed to pull parks and recreation staff from other needs in the region to manage the event safely. Also, existing restrooms were not adequate for both event attendees and other park patrons.”
DEM cancelled two events scheduled for July, due to these issues, he said. The DEM is still considering allowing PVD Food Truck to hold additional large events in August and September, according to Healey.
“For those future events, there would be an opportunity to plan ahead to bring in portajohns and take other measures to ensure they could be accommodated,” he said.
Healey said one of their ongoing challenges is recruiting for parks and recreation season staff, with more than a hundred openings they are working to fill.
The DEM also has a separate program where 20 food trucks visit the 14 park locations throughout the summer in groups of one or two.
“Hopefully, these events will allow both small businesspeople who have been harmed by the pandemic and park patrons who enjoy food trucks to benefit,” Healey added.
A current listing of the Rhode Island Parks events can be found on their website.
There are also still PVD Food Truck Events at other locations across the state. Here is their future schedule.