People Enjoyed Jazz & Food Truck Festival in Downtown Topeka

Jazz and Food Truck Festival took place in downtown Topeka on Saturday evening, Sept. 22, 2018. Both local and national jazz bands took the stage in front of the Kansas State Capitol. More than 20 food trucks offered a variety of culinary options at the festival. The admission was free.

It was the fourth annual Capital City Jazz & Food Truck Festival in downtown Topeka. It happened from 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Food trucks began serving at 3:30 p.m. Music began at 4 p.m.

The Jazz & Food Truck Festival took place at S. Kansas Avenue from 8th to 10th Street.

The Kansas Statehouse was the background of the performance stage, which was positioned at the crosswalk at the S. 9th Street and S. Kansas Avenue. From where people sat, they could watch a scenic view of the Kansas Statehouse at the sunset time while enjoying the jazz music.

There was no entry fee for the Jazz & Food Truck Festival. Food and beer vendors would charge.

It was an opportunity for people to gather together with family and friends. Many people brought chairs with them so that they could stay at the festival for hours to enjoy the jazz music and variety of food. Dogs were also welcomed to the event as long as they were on leashes.

“It’s my third year to come to this event,” said Michaela Hyman, who is a guest to the festival with her family and two dogs, “I love being outside with my family.”

Hyman came to the festival with three other family members, Dominic Stamps, Cathy Flores and Brianna Stamps who were all ranges of ages. This was Stamps first time attending this event, and Flores’ second.

A large part of the community responded at the Jazz & Food Truck Festival. More than 7,000 people attended the Jazz & Food Truck Festival, according to Vince Frye, executive director of Downtown Topeka Inc. He also pointed out that it was the biggest crowd they’ve had.

People of all ages came to the festival, from kids to the elderly. The event was not for created for specific group of people. Instead, it was a festival open to all individuals in Topeka community and areas nearby. People who like jazz and various food were welcomed to the event.

Four live jazz bands performed at the festival.

Jasper Shrake Quartet kicked things off. He is the trumpeter, composer and arranger of the quartet’s performances. His musical successes began in college, where he held leadership positions in many major ensembles at Washburn University. Shrake performs in both Topeka and Lawrence with his quartet. He advocates that music can provide opportunities for students regardless of their background or circumstances.

The following performance was by a local band, the Dave Liston Trio band. Liston is a drum instructor, who teaches drum set, snare drum and concert percussion instruments to students from all levels. He started playing snare drum from a very young age and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Washburn University.

After that, it was Paganova’s turn on the stage.

The festival was capped by Bonerama’s performance at 8 p.m., a New Orleans-based jazz band. It’s a 20-year-old trombone-heavy group. The sound of Bonerama has become an influence and contribution to the sound of New Orleans music today. The band has six members. Mark Mullins, Craig Klein and Greg hicks are vocals. Bonerama participated in last year’s Jazz & Food Truck Fesitval as well.

This was Grace Wilson’s third time attending the mass festival. Wilson and her three friends listened to the jazz music late in the evening, and even brought chairs with them so they could be there for hours.

“I enjoy the jazz a lot, and we will stay here for probably three hours,” said Wilson.

While listening to the jazz music, guests could sample menus from the food trucks at the festival. More than 20 food trucks helped feed thousands of people flocked around the stage. People experienced the variety of regional flavors and homegrown culinary talent. Many of the food trucks came from the Kansas City area. There was also homemade barbecue, hot dogs or sausages.

“The food truck is really nice because you have a lot of options,” said Hyman. She got barbecue and bacon on top of fries from a food truck.

Some of the foods trucks in attendance were Bobby’s Food Co., Cocina Mexicana by Hyvee, Greg-Co BBQ, G’s Jamaican Quisine, JLG BBQ, Mad Greek, Magnolia’s on the Move, Papa Murphy’s, Paydro & Lena’s Catering and Concession’s amongst many others.

Beer and soft drinks were also available for purchase at the festival. If people needed a refreshment or a sweet snack, they could simply stop by the truck for freshly squeezed lemonade, kettle corn and mini donuts.

Some people maintained their work during the Jazz & Food Truck Festival, such as Robert Feider, a third time festival volunteer for the Topeka Police Department.

“If people have any questions, we help them out. The job is not a problem at all, if you like helping people,” said Feider.

The event was produced by Visit Topeka and Downtown Topeka, Inc. and included 10 sponsors, including Capitol Federal, Cox, Westar Energy, Bartlett & West and WIBW TV. Additionally, there were three non-food vendors at the festival, Family Tree Insurance Solutions, M3 Ventures and Sprint. The vendors were along the avenue ready to serve concert goers.

Downtown Topeka came alive with the sound of live jazz music and the aromas of various food. If you missed the Jazz & Food Festival this year, be sure to join the event next year. More information can be found on Visit Topeka’s website.