Last weekend, The Gathering Food Truck Fest brought local bands and food trucks to Harbor Point Plaza to celebrate the ongoing Fleet Week festivities.
The Gathering is a local organization started in 2012 by a food truck owner. His goal was to bring together food trucks from the Baltimore-Washington area and throw fundraisers and events for the community.
Now in their seventh year, The Gathering has organized over 170 food truck festivals. These include events such as last month’s Trucktoberfest and the annual Taste of 3 Cities, which featured deliciousness from Baltimore, D.C. and Philadelphia. At their Fleet Week event, they included a charity aspect as well. All proceeds from their all-you-care-to-drink wristband sales at the Fleet Week Gathering went to the Children’s Scholarship Fund Baltimore.
The Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSFB) is a non-profit that raises money for low-income families to use as tuition to send their children to private schools. Their mission, as written on their website, is: “To improve educational opportunities for children of needy Baltimore City families by providing partial scholarships without regard to race, ethnicity or religious belief.” The organization also says they work to “promote a diverse and competitive educational environment for the Baltimore community.” The Gathering has partnered with CSFB before.
Last weekend’s event featured food from food truck classics like Farm to Charm as well as a couple of new faces.
I tried a bulgogi bowl with japchae noodles and eggplant from the Koco truck, which specializes in Korean food. The funky notes coming from the nearby band performing onstage and the taste of the gochujang rounded out the experience.
The next day, I visited the Inner Harbor to look at cool ships and planes and get scared by large men with large guns. I understand that the weapons are for show only (they can’t just open fire, right?), but they gave me weird vibes anyway.
The planned air show seemed to have been postponed due to cloudy weather. This was unfortunate, because it was the only reason I went. I was comforted by Jimmy’s Famous Seafood and their delicious crab cakes and potato wedges. I felt so damn American: eating a hot dog, listening to country music at a military showcase. The nationalism coursed through my veins.
But just then, a guy from the Marines challenged me to do at least 15 pull-ups to win a hat or other free merch. I realized my meager two-pull-up limit would not suffice. I was not about to be publicly humiliated, so I declined and instead ate crab soup and drank coffee from 3 Bean.
The USS Milwaukee, a littoral combat ship commissioned in 2015, was docked in the harbor. Free tours were offered to anyone willing to endure the amorphous mass they called a line that stretched around the harbor.
Personally, I have always felt that military showcases are a bit odd. The military is a necessity in today’s international political climate, and the men and women who serve should be thanked. But dressing them up and parading them around as romanticized heroes seems to overlook the military’s problematic complexities.
But who really cares, right? There’s free entertainment and food trucks everywhere.
I don’t often go to Inner Harbor, mainly because there is a very limited community there. It is the touristy area with just a few interesting events. In my opinion, the most interesting parts of town are the ones with the most interesting people. I encourage everyone to go somewhere off-campus, talk to a stranger and see what they can get out of it.
Overall, last weekend was rather mediocre, mainly because Oktoberfest events are off the table for anyone under 21. However, there are other events and markets happening every week here in Baltimore waiting for you to explore them.
I recommend checking out The Gathering’s final event of the season, A Halloween Gathering. From 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, October 12, there will be food, drinks and fun with a costume contest for both kids and adults. This event will also benefit CSFB.