GREENVILLE — Carrie Daenzer was looking for any way to embrace something positive to end of the week on Friday.
The Eureka Township resident and her family did just that, stopping throughout Greenville to purchase some unique food items during the first of four “Foodie Friday” events along the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail.
The event was created by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce with the goal of promoting area food trucks and non-profits with locations to sell goods along the trail, in light of the majority of summer festivals being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think it’s great,” Daenzer said. “We were purposefully intentional about going out and supporting the vendors who came out. People should absolutely come out.”
While the first event featured only two vendors, the customers who came to support them left smiling as they enjoyed their treats.
“This event, I think it’s a great, great idea,” said Gregg Reed, owner of Barry G’s Italian Ice of Grand Rapids.
Reed would normally be saving his visit to Greenville for the annual Danish Festival in August, but now that date serves as just another canceled festival on his calendar.
“I’ve been up here for the last four years and it’s always been great. Greenville, it’s good people in a nice community,” he said.
When Reed was approached to bring his Italian ice truck to the new weekly event on the trail, he said he was happy to give it a try.
“I have fun serving people, giving them something different that they haven’t had before, as we’re the only Italian ice place in West Michigan,” he said.
“It’s not something people are used to,” he added. “It’s actually more refreshing than ice cream when it’s hot out, because there’s no dairy in it.”
Also participating in Friday’s event was Mac House, with a booth set up on the trail at Hansen’s Park near the historic downtown district.
Daenzer made sure to purchase from both vendors, showing off a box full of macaroons from Mac House after having finished her Italian ice from Barry G’s.
“These are items that you can’t typically buy locally — you have to go to Grand Rapids or another city and these are high-quality treats and foods,” she said.
Reed hopes to return and be joined by additional vendors along the trail.
“I plan on it, coming back. It always takes time for something new to catch on,” he said. “Everybody is trying to do something new right now because it’s all haywire from what we know.”
At least one new vendor will be joining —the Danish Festival itself — as it will transform its traditional open-air breakfast event from serving a morning breakfast on the street to offering an evening treat on the trail.
“We have transitioned that event to a Foodie Friday event with the Chamber of Commerce,” Danish Festival Executive Director Kristin Griffes said. “We’ll be at Tower Riverside Park cooking aebleskivers on site. Hopefully if this is a successful event for us, we’ll be able to do it again.”
The next Foodie Friday event will be this Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
For a list of vendors and map of locations, visit the Chamber’s Facebook page as Friday’s event approaches.
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