Thousands of people flooded Shelton’s River Walk for the 3rd annual Food Trucks in the Valley on Thursday, Sept. 15. This was the first year the event was hosted by the citywide initiative that focuses on small business, Celebrate Shelton and its founders were all pleased by the results. “This turnout was amazing,” said Co-founder of Celebrate Shelton Jimmy Tickey. “This is exactly what we’re all about and this is what a vivacious downtown looks like.” Veronica Parsloe created the event two years ago with the Parent Child Resource Center and since PCRC has merged with BH Care she approached the Celebrate Shelton crew to keep annual event alive. “Bringing Celebrate Shelton on was clearly the right move. Nicole, Michael and Jimmy rocked it. Could not have done this without them,” said Parsloe. Tickey said it was impossible for people to try all of the food the event had to offer, but the staff encouraged them to try anyways. “We really wanted people to wander and check out all that the event had to offer,” said Tickey. Along with more than 25 food trucks open for business, the event featured Food Network Chef demonstrations, a car show, a beer garden, kid’s activities and local handmade artisans. In honor of Hunger Action Month, this fundraiser supported Spooner House, local food bank and homeless shelter who were collecting non perishables, and The Mary A. Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund, supporting local arts programs. There were an estimated 6,000 guests in attendance over the duration of the event. Sponsors for the event included Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Star 99.9, The Shelton Exchange Club, Valley Community Foundation, Conaway Design, NPI Medical, Dental Associates of CT, Shelton Car Care, Unilever, Brighindi Builders, mebCINEMA, FoodTrucksIn, Rolling Video Games of New England, New Belgium Brewing, People’s United Bank, Ned Miller Agency, JMK Training, John J. Brennan Construction and Blanchette Sporting Goods. “This was the best turnout we have had for Food Trucks in the Valley, and the community has been so supportive during our transition to our new host, Celebrate Shelton. Nicole Mikula, Michael Skrtic and Jimmy Tickey have been a wonderful team to work with and help this fundraiser grow. I am excited to see what we will do next year,” said Parsloe, Festival Director. Tickey said it hasn’t been decided to whether or not Celebrate Shelton will host the event again next year, but the staff had a great time and are constantly looking for ways to engage the people of Shelton as well as the surrounding communities. For the first time, Food Trucks in the Valley presented Chef demonstrations, with local celebrities who have premiered on Food Network shows. Chef Mark Vecchitto (The Captain Daniel Packer Inne and Blue Shallot Gourmet), Chef Christopher Avtges (The Taft School/Aramark and Chopped) and Chef Jason Maur (MaurPowerFoodie and MasterChef) were given 30 minutes to create a dish using mystery ingredients from attending food trucks. Dad’s Food Truck sponsored these demos by providing all equipment. See more about final dishes here: There were 27 food trucks in attendance, including Donut Crazy, Caseus Cheese Truck, DrewbaQ, Fryborg, Szabo’s Seafood, New Haven Pizza Truck, and Dad’s Food Truck. Foods ranged from falafel and latin fusion to gourmet burgers and lobster rolls. The menu was posted on Facebook ahead of time for guests to be aware of diet and allergen-friendly options, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Shelton native funk rock band Cabin Fever took the stage first with originals that drew a crowd enjoying both live music and a filling meal. Folk rock group The Alpaca Gnomes were admired by their “gnomies,” as their followers are called, many of whom were in attendance dancing and performing with hula hoops. The car show grew this year, as local businesses became involved, such as Car Show Sponsor Shelton Car Care, in addition to public participation. Trumbull resident David Carter won the People’s Choice Award with 49 votes for his 1983 Pro Street Camaro. There were cars from BMW of Bridgeport, such as the 2017 i8 series, and ACI Dynamix with custom cars, including a Lamborghini and Mustang. Kids activities included Rolling Video Games of New England with free video games, hula hooping with BringtheHoopla, face painting with Put On a Happy Face, and caricature artist JT Art and Design. Other vendors included Reid’s BBQ sauces and rubs, Southern Connecticut Chiropractic with free spinal screenings, Matt Scott Art, 203 Coffee and Tea, Clips and Giggles Bows, Oronoque Farms Gift & Bakery, Brookfield Craft Center and American Red Cross. Food Trucks in the Valley, LLC would like to thank all volunteers, staff and community supporters, including the City of Shelton, Shelton Parks & Recreation, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce and The Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. Celebrate Shelton’s upcoming Downtown Handmade Market will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2 from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., which will also feature handmade artisans from around Connecticut. The Market is located in the Conti Building at 415 Howe Ave. in Shelton. To follow Celebrate Shelton on social media and keep up with their upcoming events, search Celebrate Shelton or visit www.celebrateshelton.com. To follow Food Trucks in the Valley, LLC. on search Food Trucks in the Valley on Facebook, @ValleyFTs on Twitter, ValleyFoodTrucks on Instagram.