Football, food trucks and felines: That’s the theme of this weekend’s Gainesville Food Truck Rally.
High Dive, located at 210 SW Second Ave., will host its final food truck rally of the year at 3 p.m. Saturday. The free event will feature food trucks, a beer garden and live music.
Pat Lavery, the founder of the Gainesville Food Truck Rally at High Dive, said he started organizing these rallies in January 2013. He said they run about every six weeks. Starting this year, the rally has chosen a charity to partner with and raise money for. On Saturday, Operation Catnip is the charity, he said.
"We like to get charities that are really excited about the event," he said. On average, the rallies raise about $1,000.
More than 10 local and regional food trucks will serve food, including vegan and vegetarian options, according to a High Dive press release. Free live music from local bands will play during halftime and after the game. The bands El Camino, Gross Negligence and Courtney Opsatnick will perform.
The Southeastern Conference Championship game will be shown at 4 p.m. on a projection screen inside High Dive, and three more screens will show the game outside in the beer garden, according to the event page.
Sara Ericson has never been to a food truck rally. However, the 21-year-old UF mathematics junior said she’s always wanted to go.
"It’s just really neat that these people can travel anywhere with their restaurant," she said.
Lavery said approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people attend the rallies, but with this one being so prominent, he hopes more will come.
"We’re starting early this time," he said. "People can get their food before the game starts."
He said the trucks start serving food at 3 p.m. and stop when they run out, usually at about 11 p.m.
For Operation Catnip, volunteers stand at each truck and encourage people to vote by putting money in a bucket. The truck with the most money then wins a prize, and all the money collected goes to Operation Catnip at the end.
There’s also a silent auction inside High Dive that will benefit the charity.
Emily Henderson is the development program coordinator for Operation Catnip. Operation Catnip works to improve the lives of cats by bringing large-scale spay-and-neuter programs across the country, according to Henderson.
"We are so excited to be working with the High Dive to bring foodies and cat-lovers together for the SEC Championship game," she wrote in an email.