Queenstown's food truck festivals

3 minutes read
Posted 22 January, 2024
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It’s shaping up to be a good season for foodies with a number of food truck events popping up around Queenstown. An array of food trucks take over the picturesque Red Barn each Thursday evening, and Country Lane from noon on the last Sunday of every month during summer. Sweet and savoury options are available as well as live music – the events have a family-friendly atmosphere.

Martina Racca and her partner Navtej Singh are the masterminds behind the events and got the ball rolling back in August of 2023. As owners of the El Cordobés food truck, they felt there was a gap in the market when it came to consistency for food trucks in the region – their business is reliant on being able to find a spot to trade, which isn’t always easy.

“We knew that one of the common problems between food trucks was to find where to trade – where’s a place that we can trade weekly?” Racca says. “That’s the main reason that food trucks close after a few years, because you need regular trade just to make an income or a living from it. My partner and I both have experience in hospitality and management, and we decided to start this food truck festival.”

Racca is originally from Argentina, a place that, she explains, hosts many different festivals that are always full of friends and family. It’s something she missed from home, and wanted to introduce it down under, giving people the opportunity to unwind with loved ones and discover good food and drinks. Starting in Country Lane initially, they were inundated with support and have grown from there.
“It’s been great – the first event we did in August was just advertised on Facebook and Instagram, and people were so excited to have something different. I think the Queenstown community is always so supportive, especially with small businesses and people wanting to get something new. At the first event, we had over 3,000 people just coming to support and see what’s going on. The feedback we got was really good and we’re always open to feedback and to anything we could do better.

“In November, Remarkables Park offered us the opportunity to take care of the Twilight Market, which is a market that they’ve been running every Thursday for the past three or four years. So that’s when we made the Food Truck Festival Twilight Edition. So we have the two festivals at the moment."

At each event, they try to rotate the food on offer, with a select few faces showing up every week due to their location and availability. On Thursdays they have around 10 trucks with the goal of offering good eats from all around the world including Brazilian, Indian, Argentinian, and Belgium. In addition to local trucks, Racca has seen more and more trucks coming from around Central Otago to bring their goods to us. She has people coming from Cromwell and as far as Winton, too. Each event offers more than just food, with live music and a great atmosphere, too.

“We have live music at all of the festivals. Every festival we change the musicians, we work with local musicians as well. We have some duos and we have some solos, and on Thursdays we have the bar open, so people can enjoy local beers on the grass here. We’re going to wrap up this summer season in February, but we’re going to have some additions for winter. After February, we’ll probably open again in June,” Racca says.

The Food Truck Festival will take place every Thursday from 4pm at the Red Barn on Hawthorne Drive and the last Sunday of each month from 12-5pm at Country Lane – the next instalment will be this Sunday, 28 January. The summer series will wrap up at the end of September, but they’ll be plenty more events throughout the year and again next summer. You can stay up to date and find out how to get involved at facebook.com/Qtfoodtruckfestival

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