SOMERSET, Ky. — The City of Somerset’s annual Foodstock food truck festival will have Derby flavor this year, featuring an art component and family activities that celebrate the most famous two minutes in sports.
The city intended to add a Derby Festival to its event lineup in 2020 but was forced to cancel the event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing back the idea by combining it with the city’s already successful Foodstock offers the best of both worlds in one event, said Leslie Ikerd, tourism and events director.
“Both the Derby and Foodstock celebrate so many things that are uniquely Kentucky,” Ikerd said. “Local food. Art. Music. Horses. Bourbon. We decided we could bring all of those together into one event with our downtown as the center point — our way of sharing the story of our beautiful community and state.”
Food is of course the major attraction at Foodstock, with 24 vendors from Somerset and across the Bluegrass committed to attending.
Foodstock’s art component — a tradition of every city festival — will challenge local and regional artists to illustrate how they see Somerset on a jockey silk, a colorful symbol of the Derby. Eight artists will paint their silks live during the festival, artwork that will later be available for purchase to support arts initiatives in the community.
Arts activities for children will be available throughout the day at the Pulaski County Judicial Center Plaza. Inflatables, cornhole and life-size games like Connect 4 and Jenga will be available to play in this area as well.
And then there’s the music. This year the city will bring back its Busker Music Contest, a crowd favorite that debuted at the 2019 Streets and Eats Festival. Ten local and regional musicians will play acoustic sets at three different locations during the festival (Citizens National Bank alley, Judicial Center Plaza and Fountain Square), and patrons will vote for their favorites by placing tokens in a bucket where the artist is performing. The first bag of 10 tokens is free for every person entering the festival, and additional bags of 10 can be purchased at the gate for $1. The musician that receives the most tokens between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. is the winner and will be the opening act at the city’s Moonlight Festival in October. A schedule of playing times will be released in the coming weeks.
“I love this competition because it allows patrons to experience different kinds of music as they walk throughout the festival and creates a completely different atmosphere,” Ikerd said. “We thought it would be a great way to book our first act for Moonlight Festival and hope everyone will come out and vote for the musicians they love most.”
Admission to Foodstock is free and gates will open at 11 a.m. Anyone entering the festival who wants to buy alcoholic beverages must first purchase a $5 spirit band at the gate. Tokens for the Busker Music Contest will be available at gates as well.
Mayor Alan Keck said he loves the way Foodstock will marry the stories of Somerset and Kentucky through the Derby theme.
“We were of course disappointed when we had to cancel our Derby festival, so I’m thrilled we have found a unique way to incorporate this idea into one of our signature events,” Keck said. “Celebrating who we are is so important in sharing our immense pride with people around the country. When others hear that story, they want to be a part of it — and this is how we grow and thrive as a community. I’m looking forward to kicking off our 2022 festival season with friends and neighbors and celebrating Somerset and Kentucky together.”
For a complete list of vendors, artists and musicians participating in Foodstock, visit https://seesomerset.com/event/foodstock/.
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