Seven years ago, Gainesville’s High Dive held the first food truck rally the city had ever seen. Now, it’s celebrating its seventh anniversary of food, music and philanthropy.
The event started in 2013 when High Dive facility and events manager Patrick Lavery saw a need for a Gainesville food truck event.
“We scraped together six food trucks that we found and put them in our parking lot,” Lavery said. “It started at 7 o’clock and at 7:05, the entire parking lot was full of people. We were all just kind of flabbergasted and realized we had something cool on our hands.”
For Saturday’s rally, High Dive partnered with UF Mobile Outreach Clinic, which offers free primary care to communities around Gainesville.
Anuksha Gotmare, a 20-year-old UF biology junior and care coordinator of the clinic, said she was grateful for the opportunity to spread the organization’s message.
“It was really interesting that a lot of people did not really know what we do or where we are,” Gotmare said. “So, I’m glad I was able to explain that to some locals so, by word of mouth, they can share that.”
Sen Khiev, owner of Sublime Tacos, said their truck has been a part of the rallies since 2016.
“The Gainesville food truck scene has really grown,” Khiev said. “There’s a lot more food trucks now that are active, a lot more variety and a lot more vendors.”
Lavery said that the rallies have been able to raise tens of thousands of dollars for different Gainesville charities, while cultivating a city-wide movement and strengthening appreciation for food trucks.
“It’s cool because when we first started, we could barely find six food trucks in town,” he said. “There’s probably 40 food trucks that we cycle through, so we kind of feel like we kicked off the food truck culture in Gainesville. It’s really turned into a really big thing.”
Contact Chloe Greenberg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @_chloegreenberg.