A strong breeze provided some relief on a warm sunny afternoon in Apponaug on Thursday as Mayor Scott Avedisian addressed a crowd of city employees from a pulpit on the front stairs of Warwick City Hall for what could be the very last time as mayor of Warwick.
The occasion was a joyous one, with the mayor and future acting mayor Joseph Solomon opening up the third annual season of Food Truck Nights across the city. As they spoke about the good vibes and good eats brought about throughout the festival, about a dozen food trucks and their operators scuttled about in the side parking lot and front parking spaces of City Hall preparing to dish out their respective best eats and beverages.
The festival will run bi-weekly throughout May and until October, with food truck vendors setting up shop in neighborhoods around the city and offering everything from smoky barbecue to frosty iced treats and Portuguese staples.
“We’re going to have a whole series of food truck nights throughout the city of Warwick, from here to Rocky Point to Pontiac Village to the Gamm Theatre to Norwood to Pawtuxet Village, really giving people an opportunity to showcase all of our beautiful neighborhoods and little villages that make up our great city of Warwick,” said Avedisian.
Solomon said that he was excited to continue the event after Avedisian steps down on May 15. He will be present at the May 17 event in Norwood, what will be one of his first public events as acting mayor of Warwick.
“It’s a pleasure and an honor to welcome in the third year of this event,” he said. “I can tell you that as mayor of the city of Warwick, I will continue the tradition of this event to go well beyond three years and hopefully expand it.”
The speaking portion of the opening also welcomed in Eric Weiner, who is the president of Food Trucks In, an online database that provides information and the current whereabouts of over 6,200 mobile food trucks, trailers, cart and food stands in over 1,300 cities across the country. He thanked the city employees for making a concerted effort to help small business owners thrive.
“Not only is it a beautiful day but our relationship in Warwick is beautiful in terms of this is the way it’s supposed to work,” Weiner said. “It’s been a real pleasure and honor for us to work with the city across all departments that has really embraced what we do and to go neighborhood to neighborhood across Warwick and go to all parts of the city and to see all the people that come out to support us and support all the local food trucks that are all each individually owned private businesses.”
As a separate part of the event, the city opened up the main atrium of City Hall to the public to view a display that paid homage to Avedisian’s 18-year tenure as mayor.
A large multi-level cake (baked and decorated by A Piece of Cake, located in the Airport Road plaza) made reference to everything from the front façade of City Hall, to the Pawtuxet Rangers and Rocky Point. There were poster boards set up showing various projects undertaken by Avedisian, such as the redevelopment of properties near the train station, the lengthening of the airport’s runway and Rocky Point’s journey from abandoned amusement park to pristine open space.
Happening concurrently, RE/MAX realty was having an open house to celebrate their spot in Apponaug, which Avedisian took time to mention as another example of Apponaug’s continuing growth.
“I think it’s indicative of the Apponaug road project and the fact that there’s so much happening in the heart of Apponaug again,” he said.
With many options to sample and no shortage of variety among the trucks, Avedisian also took a moment to give a suggestion for those who may stop by.
“I know it sounds odd but try the vegan ice cream, it is absolutely fantastic,” he said. The full list of Food Truck Night locations includes:
May 3 – Warwick City Hall
May 17 – Norwood
June 7 – Pontiac Park
June 21 – Rocky Point
July 5 – Pawtuxet Park
July 19 – Rocky Point
Aug 2 - Norwood
Aug 16 – Conimicut Point Park
Sept 6 – GAMM Theatre
Sept 20 – Pawtuxet Park
Oct 4 – Pontiac Park
Oct 18 – Warwick City Hall
All Food Truck Nights begin at 5 p.m.