Food truck and beer garden link afternoon and evening events

Minor logistic problems aside, Hockessin’s 25th annual Fourth of July celebration – its first under the umbrella of Barry’s Events – seems to have gone off without much of a hitch.

In an attempt to turn the parade and fireworks display into a daylong festival, this year featured a food truck and beer garden set up in the empty lot across from the Hockessin Fire Co., with numerous trucks from throughout the area, and beer courtesy of Twin Lakes Brewery.

Barry’s events owner, Barry Schlecker, said that while he considers the day an overall success, it was a learning experience for his organization, with lessons he’ll carry over into next year – if he stays on as organizer, that is.

“We’re not sure yet – we need to debrief and see where things stand, what our plusses and minuses are, and if we want to move forward,” Schlecker said.

Schlecker said that while his company is a for-profit and that he would normally have taken a percentage for running the event, he took no fee for this year.

“We couldn’t have – there was no money left,” he said. “We try to run it like a business and the first thing is finances … we had to make sure there was money for the fireworks, then the parade and amenities, and then everything else.”

Schlecker said fundraising got off to a late start, and if he were to return for next year, he would like to see it start much earlier.

“Community cooperation was outstanding; everyone we asked for help helped,” Schlecker said. “No one thinks about the Fourth until June, and by then it’s getting late [for donations].”

Greater Hockessin Area Development Association president Mark Blake said that the overall comments from his experiences in talking to lots of folks throughout the day was that it was a tremendous success.

“The food trucks and beer garden were certainly a hit and hopefully are here to stay for years to come,” Blake said. “The quality and variety of food was fantastic and there were plenty of local food vendors.”

Blake added that the parade had “spacing issues,” a complaint often heard from spectators in previous years, as elected officials slow things down in an effort to press the flesh.

“I chalk this up to first time parade issues and not communicating to the drivers that they aren't to stop unless directed to do so by parade officials or the [county police],” Blake said.

New this year was the food truck and beer garden, with a handful local businesses and food trucks squared up for hungry and thirsty guests.

Drip Café and Brunch Box owner Greg Vogeley said that overall the food truck festival and beer garden were a big hit.

“The vibe was great – everybody that I talked to as far as customers and community members were concerned, they were absolutely thrilled to see it, they thought it was a perfect addition,” he said.

He also said that sales were good for everyone, with lines forming at all eight trucks just 10 minutes after opening at 2 p.m.

“I think it we hadn’t lost momentum because of the rain, this would have done exactly what we wanted it to do, which was connect the parade and fireworks,” Vogeley said. “That’s what we were striving to do.”