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Kingston’s Food Truck Fest offers a taste of the new development in Midtown this Friday

The street party organized by the Kingston House of Culture for Cinco de Mayo last month – Photo: Revolución Radio

David Sosa is excited. Mayor Steve Noble had contacted Kingston House of Culture, his four-month-old organization that promotes and hosts large events, about hosting an event to inform the public about the upcoming development of a 70-unit mixed-use building at 615 Broadway.

The coveted piece of asphalt, which Noble described in a press release as unused property, is the site of a formerly demolished Kings Inn next to the Ulster Performing Arts Center. Noble and Housing Initiatives Director Bartek Starodaj were seeking coveted party-maker David Sosa.

“The site of a former, demolished motel is set to be transformed into a community asset,” says a city press release, “and we want people from the neighborhood to come by and learn more about it.”

“They want to sponsor the construction of a building there,” says Sosa. “So they asked us to come up with an idea, and I told my team that we’ve never had a food truck festival here in Kingston. So let’s give it a try. Let’s see how it goes. Who doesn’t like food trucks? Everyone likes food trucks.”

Nine food trucks have registered so far. He goes through the list.

“We have two from Bloomington, some come from New Jersey. All of the Broadway ones come. Super Taco. Quetzal. Taqueria Chopina. And the guy across the street – you know where the car is, I’ve never eaten there. I heard his baleadas are good.”

A Honduran dish, it’s like a tortilla with beans and eggs. “It’s like a breakfast dish.”

The plan is to draw the public outside on a Friday afternoon to be entertained and hopefully intrigued by the story of how the city selected Poughkeepsie-based Baxter Building Corporation to incorporate its design for 70 residential units, ground-floor commercial space for arts-focused businesses and a dedicated public open space, blending with the architecture of the surrounding community while taking advantage of the city’s new form-based code.

Sosa also promises a DJ.

“Ray Mysterio. He’s Mexican, but he can play whatever he wants. We also have a singer from Peru, Alexa Benzaquen, and dancers from the Center for Creative Education.”

“Drew” Andrews, city councilor for District 7 and executive director of the Center for Creative Education, says 18 artists between the ages of six and 16 will “engage and unite the community with their award-winning performances,” dancing to hip-hop, African music and salsa, accompanied by African drums.

“And we also have craft vendors – people who sell hats, clothing, Mexican clothing and toys. The Bruderhof provides us with face painting and crafts.”

Originally from Mexico City, the UCAT bus driver and his wife also run the flower shop Roca Floral. Sosa has been throwing parties since he arrived in the city 13 years ago, and the size and ambition of his parties have steadily grown.

At the recent Cinco de Mayo celebration, the Cultural Center filled several blocks of Henry Street. The crowds packed the streets, dancing, mingling, eating, shopping and celebrating. Mayor Noble even wore a T-shirt at the party.

Joining forces

The next big event Sosa is planning is Mexican Independence Day, the weekend before September 16. The epicenter of this street celebration – which will be welcomed with joy by the city of Kingston – will be at the intersection of Liberty and Clinton. The occasion will be significant as it will allow for the union of two Hispanic cultures, which together make up the majority of the city’s second largest ethnic group.

“I’m very excited to be working with the Guatemalans,” says Sosa. “This is the first time the Guatemalan community has participated, so it’s going to be big. Saturday is Mexican Independence Day. And Sunday is Guatemalan Independence Day.”

Last year, Sosa says, there was a misunderstanding. Both communities held separate events on the same day.

“That divided people,” says Sosa. “This year we talked about it. And we came to an agreement that Saturday is for us. And Sunday is for them. And they come to support us, and we will come back and support them with full force on Sunday. Mexico and Central America.”

But before Sosa can unite Kingston’s Mexicans and Guatemalans in September, the city’s first food truck festival will take place this Friday, June 28. Anyone who owns a food truck and wants to be a part of its creation – the culinary tradition of serving food on the side of the road – should contact Bartek Starodaj at 845-334-3928.

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