Lodi residents need to bring their bibs, some $1 bills and their appetites to the city’s first ever taco truck cookoff this Saturday.
At least seven trucks will be competing to be named Lodi’s No. 1 taco truck. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Smart & Final parking lot at Lodi Avenue and Stockton Street.
The trucks will still serve all of the items on their menu, but will only be judged on their tacos. There is no admission fee, and trucks will charge their normal prices for food.
The city’s Art in Public Places Committee is planning the celebration as a way to highlight the mosaics installed in the sidewalks along Lodi Avenue. There will be maps available and balloons near all the tiles, so people can do self-guided tours, said Deanie Bridewell, arts and events manager.
Hungry attendees will have a ballot to rank each truck from one to seven and then drop them at one of the tables next to each truck, commission chair Catherine Metcalf said.
“We will have volunteers to assist anyone who needs it and to make sure there is no ballot stuffing,” she said.
The tacos will be judged not only by all of the attendees but also a panel of judges. So far the judges include Mayor Bob Johnson and Pat Patrick, CEO and president of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.
The winners of both categories will receive a ceramic taco as a trophy. The Mud Mill, a pottery painting studio in Downtown, donated the trophies.
The truck that attendees vote their favorite will also receive a banner to advertise that they are the top truck in town.
If the event Saturday is successful, the commission will make it an annual competition, Metcalf said. In future years, Metcalf said they might also give out other awards for best salsa or best burritos.
The event is part of the commission’s goal of reaching out to the Eastside and acknowledging a variety of art mediums, like spoken word or culinary arts, Metcalf said. She hopes people will recognize the skill it takes to run one of these business.
“It doesn’t have to be gourmet, but it can be everyday fare,” she said.