By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Musical prodigy Griffin Tucker, 13, will headline this year’s fourth annual Food Truck Palooza on Sunday, Sept. 20.
“I’m really excited to play this show,” said Griffin, an acclaimed vocalist and multi-instrumental artist.
A portion of the proceeds of this event — sponsored by Temple Shalom — goes to benefit No Kid Hungry and Jewish Family Services of Greater Dallas. Thousands of area residents are expected to attend.
Dallas-Fort Worth gourmet food trucks, celebrity chefs and Dallas judges make up the heart of the Palooza, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.
“It’s a great community event — and it’s starting to get some real local notice,” said event Co-Chair Ed Klein.
Admission will be $5, with children 3 and under able to attend for free. In addition to live music, there will also be other entertainment, raffles and a “Kids Zone” with face painting, inflatables and more.
Additionally, there will be wine, beer and gourmet food available for purchase. There will be free parking and a special stroller entrance. (Management asks that no one bring pets.)
Bringing idea to life
Event Co-Chair Robyn Young said the initial idea for Food Truck Palooza was first conceived by Temple Shalom member Barry Epstein, who immediately contacted her and Murray and Michelle Swanger (all fellow members) to discuss co-chairing the event.
“From that idea the Food Truck Palooza was born,” Robyn Young said. “The first year we had about 12 trucks and a couple of bands. The weather was cold and rainy but we still had people come out to support the event.”
This year’s Food Truck Palooza boasts as many as 17 trucks, she said. Last year’s event attracted more than 2,500 attendees — a number that is expected to increase to over 3,000 this year.
“A variety of foods is served from our trucks — the most popular food trucks in Dallas coming to serve their foods,” Young said. “Every car will receive a ‘goodie’ bag with coupons and items from local area establishments.”
This year the event will spotlight Young Judaea camp and their “ga-ga” pit, clowns, bands, a huge raffle, “Stick it to Hunger” Post-it notes stuck to a car, and a Food Truck competition with celebrity chef judges from Dallas.
Trophies will be awarded to “Most Savory,” “Most Sweet” and “Fan Favorite,” organizers said.
“We are hoping to surpass the previous years,” Robyn Young said. “The weather is always a factor. The Cowboys are at an away game so that should help with attendance.”
There will be other local musical acts in addition to Griffin Tucker. Among these are the Merseymen — made up of Michael Acuna, a local musical court judge; Randall Scott, a local attorney; and Stephen Moreau, a local municipal court bailiff.
Also on the performance schedule is the Oak Cliff-based blues band Bona Fide Blues.
A raffle held during the day will spotlight a guitar signed by Darius Rucker and his band, plus two Villy Custom Cruiser bikes and a huge raffle of baskets full of sports items, kids’ items, getaways, restaurants, hotels and more.
To inquire about the event, contact Abbie Alter at 214-709- 5528, email email@example.com or go to www.dallasfoodtruckpalooza.com.
This will be the third year Co-Chair Ed Klein has participated in the event. He said it gets better and better every year.
“We have returning entertainment, which helps because they are familiar with the layout,” he said. “There also will be professional clowns reminiscent of the kind you see at birthday parties.”
Griffin Tucker, meanwhile, is bringing his A-Game to the Fourth Annual Food Truck Palooza. He cites The Beatles, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC, KISS, and Queen as his musical influences.
The 13-year-old has been performing professionally since age 8 and already plays 10 instruments — drums since he was 5 and guitar since age 8. Griffin’s mother, Kimberly Tucker, is his general manager.
In 2013, Griffin toured as a featured artist for Disney star Zendaya, and has developed a loyal following — fans who belong to his trademark GrifFAN Army.
In 2015, the youngster won the Texas Top Ten Under Twenty Guitar Players at the 2015 Dallas International Guitar Show & Festival.
Griffin — whose work is available on http://www.griffintuckermusic.rocks — said this will be his second year to perform at the event.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.