May 8, 2017 ~ RiverheadLocal ~

Tacos, Italian sausage, grass-fed organic burgers, seafood, gourmet french fries, zeppole and many other mouth-watering dishes will be featured at the first-ever Flanders Food Truck Festival on the weekend of May 19-21.

The festival will feature up to 15 food trucks with a plethora of offerings, from BBQ and braciole to soft-serve ice cream and funnel cakes. The options are many, with the aim of pleasing all palates.

There will be several hours of live entertainment on the town’s showmobile, where Irish dancers, salsa groups and folkloric Mexican dancers, among others, will take the stage.

Aside from the many food truck vendors, the weekend-long event will also be filled with activities for kids and grown-ups. These include two-hour nature tours through Sears Bellow and Hubbard county parks on Saturday and Sunday morning at 10 a.m., sponsored by the Southampton Trails Preservation Society.

On Sunday, the Crohan Community Center will feature a free kids’ arts and crafts event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Also on Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., East Hampton YMCA will offer soccer, basketball and Frisbee games and will bring a rock climbing wall for a total of six hours of supervised sports activities at Ludlum Avenue Park.

The food trucks and most of activities will be on a site at the intersection of Flanders Road and Bell Avenue.

Frank & Liz Italian Sausage & Braciole food truck will be in the lineup on Flanders Food Truck Festival weekend, May 19-21

When the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association’s board first started thinking of a fundraising event that would bring the community together, but at the same time showcased the area, they all agreed that food — and family activities — was the way to go.

It is a bet that has certainly paid off: since posting the event on Facebook, FRNCA president Ron Fisher said that it has been viewed over 70,000 times and at least 300-400 people have said they will attend.

“We had two goals,” said Fisher. “First, we thought this would be a good way for people to participate and have fun at our fundraiser and second, we wanted visitors to experience how beautiful and diverse this community really is.”

The first step was to find a location that could host such an event. Fisher, who has worked with Truth Community Church before, asked Pastor Keith Indovino for help. The church sits on a two-acre lot, but the actual building occupies only half an acre, leaving more than an acre available for events. Indovino says they didn’t hesitate to partner with FRNCA and decided not only to lend them the grounds, but also provide volunteers to help staff the event.

“This is about relationship-building,” said Indovino. “We want to do positive things for the community and be an agent of change. This event will have a trickle effect and people will see that positive things are going on in Flanders,” he added.

The event is being supported by Renaissance Downtown, the master developer selected by the Town of Southampton for redeveloping the Riverside area.

“For us it’s important to support this kind of initiative because it helps the social and economic development of the community,” said Siris Barrios of Riverside Rediscovered, Renaissance Downtown’s outreach initiative.

“We applaud the creative leadership of Ron Fisher as FRNCA president for spearheading this project,” she said.

Amy Kaufmann, a Flanders resident who bought a house there last July says that since she started living in Flanders she has found an “incredible sense of community.”

“I feel more connected now to Flanders than to Massapequa, where I lived for 30 years,” she said.

Kaufmann says she feels especially excited for the upcoming festival. “I have invited friends and family to come. This is the perfect way for people to fall in love with the area too,” she said.

Kaufmann, who has a two and half year old daughter, said that in addition to the food, they are also looking forward to the many activities planned for the weekend.

Food truck vendor John DiDio of Frank and Liz Sausage and Braciole food truck has been in business over 35 years and is coming all the way from Commack to the Flanders festival. He says it’s guaranteed to be a fun event.

“We only need two things: people and good weather,” he said.

Festival dates and times are Friday, May 19 from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Truth Community Church on 46 Bell Avenue in Flanders. Admission is a suggested $5 donation.