PALM HARBOR — For anyone who wants to enjoy a dinner and a Friday night out with the family, but not the hassles that can come with little ones in a sit-down restaurant, try Palm Harbor's Food Truck Rally and Family Fun Night.
Food, family and fun are the operative words for tonight as the parking lot at Harbor Hall will fill up with music, the aroma of food, and loads of entertainment for adults and children. And that's the plan from now on, according to Debbie Thomas, executive director of Old Palm Harbor Main Street, also known as OPHMS.
"We're changing our image," Thomas said. "We want people to know OPHMS is about family fun and we're starting with this Friday night. Then Aug. 17, we're having a Back-to-School Movie Night at Harbor Hall, with old-fashioned movie prices, $1 to see Dolphin Tale. It's another family event."
Tonight's event will offer a variety of eats, from organic gourmet dishes to grouper sandwiches and fish tacos to Asian fusion cuisine. There also will be hot dogs with 30 different condiments, barbecue and Italian meatball subs.
Dessert? How about cupcakes or frozen yogurt? Families can bring a blanket and picnic in the grass. There also will be tables and chairs set up.
A kids zone with a free touch-a-truck display will showcase a Jolley Trolley vehicle, a fire engine, a police car and a peace keeper. Maybe even an antique police car. More free family fun takes place on the sidewalk, with chalk. A sidewalk chalk art competition is scheduled with prizes. For a reasonable fee, there will be three bounce houses, a rock-climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and face painting.
A DJ will keep the mood upbeat. There will be street dancing, plus a cash mob will take place at the close of the event. That's where a crowd of people get a special offer from a certain merchant and the mob takes off to that establishment after the event they're attending ends.
"Starting in August, we're going to have a Food Truck Rally First Friday," Thomas said. "We'll incorporate some family oriented event, too, after seeing which one does well and which one everyone likes.
"Food truck rallies are trending right now, so we hope lots of people come and find that we're creating a different image for Old Palm Harbor, because we are a family oriented community."
Theodora Aggeles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.