The food truck event that brought throngs of people to downtown New Kensington last year is coming back.
“Fridays on Fifth” will make its return this Friday on — you guessed it — Fifth Avenue. It will run from 5 to 9 p.m. between Ninth and 11th streets.
This will be the first full year for the monthly event, which was an unexpected success in its debut in July last year. Four were held, with the last in October.
Six are scheduled for 2022 on the fourth Friday of each month through September.
Organizers have decided to not hold one in October since it’s Halloween weekend and the weather can be iffy, said Nicole Vigilante, a volunteer with the New Kensington Recreation Commission and owner of Trovo Co., a home decor shop on Fifth Avenue.
Fridays on Fifth was created to showcase the new and existing business in New Kensington’s downtown. In addition to food trucks lining the street, the city’s businesses are encouraged to stay open later that night.
Vigilante said she was excited about how Fridays on Fifth went in its first year.
“It was a great turnout and people were really supportive and enthusiastic to have something fun to do locally,” she said. “We want to continue to bring exposure to the downtown businesses and our downtown business district. We want to continue to support the growth and revitalization in the city. It’s a fun way to bring people downtown.”
Co-sponsor Voodoo Brewery will again be providing music from 6 to 9 p.m., outside if weather permits, brewery operations manager Michelle Thom said. The Hoffman Road Band is slated to perform this month.
Scheduled performers for the season are Mojo The Band on May 27; Gaetano Letizia Jazz and Blues on June 24; Julie & the 2nd Offenders on July 22; No More Daisies on Aug. 26; and The Shiners on Sept. 23.
Vigilante said 10 food trucks are expected on Friday. There will be some new ones including Hibachi Lou, Revival Chili, Pittsburgh Crepes, Knapp-Kins and Little C’s Concessions.
Among those returning is Jose Tecuanhuehue, who will have his Taqueria El Pastorcito truck on Fifth Avenue on Friday. On Sunday, he is scheduled to open a storefront restaurant on Fourth Avenue in a space that had most recently been a hot dog shop.
“They really liked the environment and are choosing to invest in the community by opening their first restaurant here in New Kensington,” Vigilante said.
Also returning are Del Vecchio’s Sausage & Fries, and Hot Ash Wood Fired Pizza.
Del Vecchio’s owner Tommy Scanga, of Vandergrift, said he has nothing but good things to say about New Kensington.
“They’ve done everything perfect so far with us,” he said. “It’s a nice crowd, they treat the vendors good and we love our customers. It couldn’t be any better, it really couldn’t. They turned a lot of things around. I’ve never seen a community come together like I do there.”
Stephen Potoka has been a volunteer firefighter for 30 years. He started his wood-fired pizza truck six years ago. He has worked in New Kensington for 25 years and is the plant manager at UniFirst.
“This is the best I’ve seen it down there the last couple years,” he said. “Those guys are doing a lot and they’re making a lot of changes. I’m glad I’m part of it. We’re glad we’re part of it.”
Potoka said he’s thankful organizers invited him back.
“It’s a wonderful event, it really is,” he said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, email@example.com or via Twitter .