More than 5,000 students, employees and community members came together on Oct. 15 to celebrate Brookdale’s 50th anniversary and support Brookdale Public Radio during the first ever Homecoming Food Truck Fest, held on the Lincroft campus.
The event, hosted by Brookdale Public Radio and Spark Market Solutions, featured more than 12 award-winning food trucks, live music acts and a host of family friendly activities, contests and prize giveaways.
Attendees lined up throughout the afternoon to sample sandwiches, sliders, noodle bowls, tacos, cupcakes, frozens cheesecake and other offerings from some of the most popular food trucks in the Monmouth County area, including Empanada Guy, Mary Queen of Pork, Surf and Turf Truck, House of Cupcakes and the Tasty Trolley.
Live music acts included Sharif, Matthew Logan Vasquez of Delta Spirit, Anthony D’Amato, Waiting for Henry and Boo Ray. Local acoustic duo Strumberry Pie also made a guest appearance and led some of the younger attendees in a kazoo singalong.
Activities included a Corn Hole tournament and pie throw featuring 90.5 The Night radio personalities, sand art, pumpkin and face painting, a bounce house, an “escape room” experience and a wide range of local arts, crafts and clothing vendors scattered across the Lot 7 venue.
Throughout the afternoon, representatives from the Middletown Township Fire Department offered chaperoned rides in their ladder truck while zombies from Brookdale’s Haunted Theater roamed the grounds to take pictures with the families in attendance.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Brookdale nursing student Krissy Plaza, who attended with her four-year-old daughter. “I’m really excited that the college decided to host an event like this this year. It’s a great opportunity to come out with my daughter, try some of the different food and just have some fun. We were just at the bounce house for an hour, and now she’s doing some pumpkin painting. She’s having a blast.
“My coursework can be pretty stressful at times,” she added. “So it’s a nice break to come to campus and not be worried about that.”
The event, which offered free admission to all attendees, served as a fundraiser for Brookdale Public Radio and an unofficial kickoff to Brookdale’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout the 2016-17 school year. During the festivities, Brookdale President Dr. Maureen Murphy joined 90.5 The Night station manager Tom Brennan to help slice and serve an oversized “Brookdale birthday cake” to the crowd.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way today worked out,” said Brennan. “We had great food, great music, beautiful weather and an absolutely amazing turnout. If you wanted to come to one food truck event, it was definitely this one. I saw a lot of happy faces, people here with their families and their dogs just enjoying themselves, and I saw a lot of familiar faces too – students, employees and alumni all here together. It’s just great to see.
“I think it really exceeded all of the goals we had for this event,” said Brennan, explaining that the Food Truck Fest was designed to introduce people to both the radio station and the college itself. “We were hoping for a good turnout, but this just blows it out of the water. I think the fact that so many people are here – Brookdalians and alumni and community members alike – I think it’s a great way to kick of the 50th anniversary, and I hope the rest of the year will be as successful as this.”
To learn more about Brookdale Public Radio, visit their website. Keep up with all of Brookdale’s 50th anniversary events by check out the official college events calendar.
View more photos of the Homecoming Food Truck Fest here.
[Photos contributed by Minh Connors, Brookdale journalism student]