CHAMBERSBURG – The GearHouse Brewing Company (253 Grant St.) will host its Food Truck Fest event on Saturday, July 27 from noon to 5 p.m. The biannual celebration brings a fleet of vendors who serve up everything from traditional barbecue to stuffed waffles.
The event allows Chambersburgers to enjoy a dining experience that would typically require them to travel to an urban area such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Washington, D.C.
At the same time, the event attracts visitors from outside of Chambersburg, which is beneficial to the GearHouse, the food truck operators, and the surrounding local businesses.
“I think it’s just something fun to do in Chambersburg,” said Ashley Hill, the events coordinator and a manager at the GearHouse. “[Food trucks] are not something that we really have a lot of. Any time you go to D.C. or really any other city, and they have food trucks set up on the streets, it’s a fun, different thing for people to do. You get to try a lot of different foods all in one day and just have a fun day outside with friends and family.”
She added: “It’s good for all of the businesses in town, and it’s just something fun for local people. Not everybody gets to travel to the bigger cities, so if we can bring a little bit of that here, that’s something that everybody seems to enjoy.”
Not only does the Food Truck Fest bring the city experience to Chambersburg, it also brings the crowds.
Hill said that last year’s Food Truck Fests, held in June and October, drew between two and three thousand attendees each.
“It brings a lot of out of town people to our little town,” said Hill. “It was a way for people to experience Chambersburg who might not have had a reason to come here before.”
One of the food trucks that will be at the event is Pully Wissle Provisions.
“We like to make backyard-style food like you’d have at a picnic or barbecue, so it lends itself to being mobile,” said owner and founder Jason Bachtell of Pully Wissle’s menu.
The menu is always changing, but they have a few staples, which include brisket (when they can get it) and bacon on a stick.
“It’s basically a bacon lollipop,” said Bachtell of the menu item, which is ideally suited to festival environments. “It’s a twelve-inch piece of bacon, a half-inch thick. We candy it and smoke it and you can walk around the event eating that.”
Bachtell and his wife both work full-time jobs and run Pully Wissle on the side.
“Anything food brings out the entrepreneurial spirit because food is one of the only things that makes everyone happy,” said Bachtell.
Pully Wissle is one of the original vendors to participate in the Food Truck Fests.
“That’s where we got our start,” said Bachtell. “We did their Food Truck Fest last October with a little eight-by-ten trailer and a tent, and, now, here we are in a twenty-five foot food trailer.”
Before that, they collaborated with GearHouse as part of their High Gear Club, a beer pairing. It was here that Bachtell got his first experience in a commercial kitchen.
“We were so thankful to them for believing in us,” said Bachtell.
At this time, there are eight confirmed food trucks participating on Saturday:
The GearHouse will also participate with its own beer truck and a beer pop-up.
To make room for the expected crowds, some of the trucks will be at the neighboring Jan Zell Wines (251 Grant St.).
Hill explained that while the GearHouse is primarily a brewery, they have also evolved into being a restaurant that is becoming known for its busy events calendar. The events include the major holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and Octoberfest as well as live music every Saturday night.
And, of course, the Food Truck Fest.
[Main image caption: Jason Bachtell of Pully Wissle Provisions poses with his twenty-five foot food trailer on July 25 as he prepares for Food Truck Fest, which will be held on July 27 at the GearHouse Brewing Company in Chambersburg.]