From the Editors: Roaring, Rewriting, and Roving for Restaurants
May 22, 2019
Winter is over.
Just like Game of Thrones, all things must come to an end. As many of us know very well, however, not everything goes quite the way we want it to. Prior to the show's series finale, over one million fans signed an online petition on Change.org, asking for showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to remake the entire last season. It's a new level of community involvement in the face of what they feel to be poor decisions. Back in the north(west) of Pennsylvania, there's an oddly similar feeling happening.
Things are being rewritten all the time. One such thing is Roar on the Shore. Recently, the motorcycle festival announced plans to relocate from Downtown Erie to the Lake Erie Speedway in North East. As reported by the Erie Times-News, after last year's festival ended up costing the City of Erie almost $139,000, Erie Mayor Joe Schember chose to have around half of that paid for by the event, forgoing a 2018 payment for $69,304 due this year. A disagreement about that bill led to the choice to relocate. Schember told Erie News Now that he was "sorry to lose them from Erie, but "happy that they found a good location," speaking about the Speedway location.
To some, this was mourned, to others, it was celebrated. If you're wondering where we stand, here's a little backstory on some of the Erie Reader's commentary on this event: In 2015, Jim Wertz wrote that "Roar on the Shore feels more like the flu. It comes on fast and you're grateful when it's gone." In a 2014 edition of our very own From the Editors column, we wrote: "A better dialogue between those running the event and the small businesses in our area needs to be had so that we're not having the same conversations come July 2015."
A better dialogue is one thing that Liz Allen suggests that the Erie Downtown Development Corporation have as well. As Allen writes: "Instead of garnering positive PR, the EDDC has had to play defense to explain why it was evicting three restaurants, all started by immigrants, and why it intends to demolish two historic structures."
As we can see, these conversations were repeated. And repeated. In 2016, the Gears and Grub Festival started, as a local response to Roar on the Shore and their much-maligned lack of true local involvement. The event took off, and crowds flocked to the West Erie Plaza to visit local food trucks and hear local bands. While increasing renovations and new, thriving brick-and-mortar businesses began to account for the festival's lot space, they've managed to get permits in order to move the festival to Downtown Erie while Roar is going on elsewhere.
These food trucks are the focus of Nick Warren's update about the state of Erie's mobile vendors. While last year saw a visible swell in both support and the sheer number of vendors, challenges still remain, as the Erie Food Truck Alliance thrives, and the Erie Food Truck Festival in Lawrence Park kicks off a string of events not just catered by these eateries, but in celebration of them.