It's time again for the Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival, which takes off this Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm at Auditorium Shores.
Last year's picnic was anything but. Long lines (up to an hour for a donut), nightmare parking, vendors running out of food, and massive crowds soured many attendants.
The festival received a two-star rating on Yelp!, and led John Kelso of the Austin American-Statesman to quip: "If you wanted something to eat, it would have been quicker to sit on the corner with a tin cup, collect change and grab a tuna sandwich at a convenience store. Or bag a possum and build a fire."
This year promises to be different, according to Festival Marketing Manager Lindsay Hoffman of C3 Presents, which is producing the festival.
"Last year was the first year of the festival, so everything was unknown. We couldn't even anticipate those kind of numbers," she told KUT News.
"This year we're working with those kind of [anticipated] numbers, so it's a lot easier to work with the food vendors and prepare them to get their menu out faster," Hoffman said. "We've taken in all the feedback from last year."
Hoffman says event organizers have worked on "having more staff for each trailer -- doing some simple math that there's going to be 15,000 people coming through the park, so what does that translate into numbers for each trailer?"
They've also expanded the footprint of the festival, Hoffman said, so the flow should improve and attendees will have more room "throw down a picnic blanket and take advantage of the beautiful weather."
This weekend, Austin will have a record number of street closures downtown because of festivals, events and marches (see map below). Hoffman encourages picnic visitors to "ride bikes, the bus, carpool or walk -- that's gonna be your best bet." A list of paid parking lots and prices is available here.
Hoffmans told KUT News that over 35 food trucks from across Austin will be at the festival. "It's one of the most amazing trailer food scenes in the country. It's everything that Austin is -- it's creative, it's entrepreneurial, and it's great to be a part of that spirit."
Admission to the festival is free, and dogs are welcome. Samples of trailer food start at three dollars.