NEW BEDFORD —  The New Bedford Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival is returning on Saturday, Sept.10, with an array of tempting cuisine including Brazilian American kabobs, loaded french fries, Westport’s Bem Bom Portuguese & American Culinary Fusion and coffee and treats from Acushnet-based The Rescue Cafe.
“It’s our very first food truck festival,” said Joni Rhodes, owner of the Acushnet-based food truck. “I’m super nervous and super excited about it.” The Rescue Cafe is offering iced coffee floats and apple cider floats on their menu, along with Hawaiian shaved ice.
“I normally don’t do ice cream stuff in the trailers. So that’s like something special that we’re bringing specifically for the food truck festival,” Rhodes said, adding that 3% of proceeds go to CARE, SouthCoast Inc, a volunteer-run, no-kill, 501c3 animal rescue shelter.
Trucks scheduled to appear in Fort Tabor Park from noon to 5 p.m, include Lobster Roller, Villa of Lebanon, Moyzilla, South Shore Taco Guy, Trolley Dogs, Lobsta Love and more.
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“We make sure that we have at least one of everything whether it’s a sausage, a hot dog, a pizza truck, a whoopie pie, popcorn, burgers,” said Anthony Pepe, owner of Food Trucks Festivals of America (FTFA).”We make sure we have tacos, barbecue, we try to have one of everything.”
Joseph Reis Jr. said he is extremely excited to be in his hometown of New Bedford with his “Bem Bom” Portuguese/American Culinary Fusion food truck, formerly known as “Flip N Roll “ Portuguese/ American.
Earlier this year Reid and his wife took sole ownership the business.
“It’s inspired by old family recipes we proudly serve in Mass & Rhode Island,” Reis said. “This will be our fourth appearance at events by Food Truck Festivals of America and the first time as “Bem Bom.” We are very excited.”
Celebrating its fifth year at Fort Tabor, Pepe said it’s one of his favorite locations for the food truck festival.
“The location pretty much speaks for itself, does it not? It is beautiful,” he said. You walk out there and you’re looking at all the water, we line up the food trucks along the waterfront — it’s just gorgeous.”
There is also a beer tent featuring brews such as Vermont Beer Makers, Ten Bends Beer, Luna Bay Hard Kombucha, Graft Cider and Sangria Lady.
“We do festivals all across the country. But this is one of our biggest and best in New England,” Pepe added.
Last year’s event saw upwards of 4,000 guests throughout the day, Pepe said that people should expect lines and to bring lawn chairs and blankets. There is also a VIP ticket that people can purchase that allow early access from 11 a.m. to noon.
There will also be an artisan section featuring businesses such as Funky Stuff, Magic Tree Henna and Big Wide Headband & Accessories. Guests can also enjoy cornhole, giant Jenga and checkers, all while dancing to tunes by a local DJ.
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“We know how important small businesses are to local communities and obviously with coming off a year, like COVID, we like to support these trucks,” said Pepe, who has been producing festivals across America since 2011.
Pepe said it feels good when he looks out and sees lines of people spending money. “These are families that are running these food trucks. They’re mom-and-pop shops,” he said. “It’s great to see them so busy.”
FTFA’s goal is not only to introduce communities across the country to gourmet food trucks, but to support the small business owners who run them.
“At the end of the day, it’s a family fun event where people are there to eat,” Pepe said.
To purchase tickets, visit www.foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com/new-bedford. 
Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at schitwood@s-t.com. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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