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By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Marine on Saturday welcomed the food truck community, as the Taco Shack put together its first ever Taco Festival to benefit the Tyler Timmins Memorial Foundation.
Terry Perrin, owner of the Taco Shack, started the festival to do some good in the community and to help a worthy cause. The Foundation was the reason for this year’s Taco Festival, which featured a variety of food trucks, specifically tacos, live music, artisans, entertainment and refreshments.
The first year of the festival brought the community out in droves with an estimated over 2,500 visitors coming to the event. The festivities began at 10 a.m. and concluded at 6 p.m. in Marine Village Park, located at 300 North Duncan Street. Perrin deemed the festival a success by the outpour of people that showed up to the festivities.
“There were a lot of people out here,” Perrin said. “Everyone truck sold out of food, you would be surprised by the amount of people that showed up”
The food truck community is a close-knit group and there are no feelings of competition or amongst the food truck vendors. Perrin said the food truck community is like family and has a culture all of its own.
Daphnee Moe, event coordinator for the festival also said the event was “shockingly” successful.
”There were quite a bit of people and we were pretty shocked with the turn out,” Moe said. “Marine is already asking us to book for next year, so we’re pretty stoked.”
The inaugural festival consisted of over 70 vendors and about six food trucks, with four of them being taco trucks, according to Moe.
“We had 6 taco trucks come out, but we had a couple that couldn’t make it,” Moe said. “That’s all right because next year is going to be bigger and better.”
The festival also featured four live bands that kept the crowd dancing and rocking all-day long. The Cellar Dwellers kicked the show off from 10-11:45 a.m. Acoustic duo Scott and Mechelle took the stage from noon to about 1:45 p.m. with the Hideous Gentlemen following from 2-3:45 p.m. Rock-Er-Box closed out the festival.
Moe said this festival was to benefit the Tyler Timmins Memorial Foundation. Officer Timmins was a Pontoon Beach police officer who was killed in the line of duty while investigating a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of a Speedway gas station at the intersection of Illinois 111 and Chains of Rocks Road.
Timmins had served with the Pontoon Beach Police Department for 18 months. He had previously served with the Roxana Police Department, Wordon Police Department, and Hartford Police Department for 14 years. He is survived by his wife and stepdaughter.
Moe said the Tyler Timmins Memorial Foundation was created to assist families of fallen police officers and firefighters in their time of need.
“We always want to give back,” Moe said. “They do so much for us, so that was one way we could give back.”
Moe estimated that the festival donated over $1,000 to the Tyler Timmins Memorial Foundation. The numbers are not official, according to Moe, saying that they still have people donating so those numbers will change in the upcoming weeks.
Moe said that they were excited by the amount of people that showed up to the event and she hopes that it will get better every year following. She said they had about six taco trucks come out, but a few were unable to make it.
Stepanie Boyd, of Taco Drip STL said they have been in business for about a year-and-a-half and they came out to the festival to support the Taco Shack and the food truck community. She said Perrin invited them to the event and they plan on being recurring participants of the planned annual event.
“I want to come back every year and be a part of this community because I like the energy here,” Boyd said.
Boyd said that they specialize in Birria Tacos and added that they have steak, chicken, shrimp, jackfruit, vegetable and ground beef. She said what makes birria tacos so special is that they are a celebration of the hispanic and latino community. “They are cooked for over 12 and half hours with a lot of love.
Mickey Moore, of Mighty Me STL, is not only a food truck, but a catering company that offers a wide variety of assorted foods, including tacos. Originally from East St. Moore said that they have a Jamaican Jerk Taco as well as a Mango Habanero Taco that is very popular.
“I have never been to Marine, so I was very excited to branch out a little bit and see what Marine has to offer,” Boyd said. “It was very nice to be here. It was full of nice energy.”