Best Bets: Food Truck Throwdown growing at Blue Earl

Food trucks and hungry patrons line the property around Blue Earl Brewing in Smyrna for Blue Earl’s Food Truck Throwdown last year. This year’s event has been expanded to two days starting today at 4 p.m. (Submitted photo)

In just its third year, Blue Earl’s Food Truck Throwdown has grown so much that it’s doubling its days this year.

“I wanted to double their pleasure,” said Ron Price, founder and brewmaster at Blue Earl Brewing in Smyrna.

“It’s been so successful that I wanted to make it into a two-day event this year. We could increase the entertainment for more people and help out the people who couldn’t come on Saturday.”

Doors open at 4 p.m. today and the fun lasts until 8. Saturday it runs from noon to 8 p.m. VIP ticketholders can gain entrance an hour earlier on Saturday.

The food truck competition will be held outside the brewery and trucks will vie for the Blue Earl People’s Choice Award and be judged by a panel of food experts for a chance to win the 2019 Blue Earl Cup.

The judges this year will be Mr. Price, along with Ludovic Bezy, owner and chef at La Baguette Bakery in Dover and Ernesto Carannante, owner and chef at Trevi Ristorante in Smyrna.

Food trucks include Oriental House, Deerhead Hot Dogs, Woody’s On Wheels, Delicious Craving, KOI on the Go, The Corn Exchange, LLC, Crave Eatery, The Plum Pit, Pete’s PeteZa, Wildwich and Tre Sorelle Dolce.

Delicious Craving won the People’s Choice Award last year while Truck It took the Blue Earl Cup.

Mr. Price said the event has become so popular that food trucks have been coming to him now to get on the bill.

“I was targeting as many food trucks as I could get. But the challenge for us was that we announced fairly late in the game that we were going to mandate that all trucks had to be there for both days in order to participate,” he said.

“So there were some that had other commitments that couldn’t get in. But we’ll still have plenty of different options for folks.”

Dishes will range from Mediterranean to Mexican, grilled cheese to barbecue, homemade Southern comfort food to desserts.

As is customary at each event, a special Blue Earl Throwdown beer will make its debut. This year is the Throwdown Lager.

“It’s a dry-hopped Pilsner lager dry-hopped with American hops. It’s very light, only about five ABV and 30 IBs. It’s crisp and refreshing,” Mr. Price said.

“It’s one of our pilot scale batches. It won’t make it past Saturday so we encourage people to certainly purchase their tickets for the Throwdown if they want to try it.”

VIP tickets for $30 entitles access to both days of the event, plus early access on Saturday at 11 a.m. VIP ticket holders will also receive access to VIP parking, logo glass, voting tickets and two drink tickets.

Single-day tickets for either Friday or Saturday are $15 and entitles access to food trucks and entertainment, a logo glass, voting tickets and one drink ticket.

The Susquehanna Floods will perform Saturday during the Blue Earl Food Truck Throwdown. (Submitted photo)

A weekend pass is $25 and entitles access on both days with all of the above and two drink tickets.

Designated driver tickets are $10 either day.

Those under 18 will be admitted free.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Food Bank of Delaware. Non-perishable food donations will also be accepted at the door.

Today, Tyler Greene will entertain from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, DJ Blake spins from noon until 2 p.m. The Susquehanna Floods will play from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and Blue Cat Blues perform from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Price says he’s “amazed” at the interest in the event.

“We have 6,000 people on the Facebook event page down as interested. That’s pretty impressive. Looking around at other beer festivals, the amount of interest we’re getting on this far exceeds any of the other ones. I’m pretty flattered, excited at the same time and a little stressed,” he joked.

Ironically, food trucks are no longer a staple of Blue Earl since they officially became an eatery in mid-March when a food cart was brought into the brewery.

Opened in May of 2015, Mr. Price has long dreamed of adding a kitchen to his establishment.

“But Smyrna didn’t want me to do it. They had their reasons. They said the zoning wasn’t right. So we have to take it one step at a time. I don’t think it’s right but I have to follow the rules,” he said.

“So we’re doing food cart cooking but if you look at the menu, it’s pretty awesome. We have international sausages, wings, nachos. People are loving it.”

As well as being a master brewer, his culinary credentials are pretty strong.

He has worked in the food industry as a cook for a few different restaurants and is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge.

“I’ve been a foodie since I was very young. I was fascinated by the culinary arts since I was a child. I became fascinated with cooking when I was about 20 years old. Every weekend I was always thinking ‘OK, what am I going to cook this weekend,’” he said.

“I started researching cuisine back before the internet. I would watch Julia Child, ‘Yan Can Cook’ and Justin Wilson on PBS and go to the library every weekend and take out books.

“Then when the internet came out, wow man, I could get images of cuisine around the world. With my Polish and German heritage, I was always pickling and canning and putting tomatoes into Ball jars. Anything and everything, I was doing it.

“So the food stuff didn’t just crop up for me. I’ve been doing it a long time.”

For tickets to the Blue Earl Food Truck Throwdown, visit

Blue Earl Brewing is at 210 Artisan Drive in Smyrna.

Raubacher exhibit opens

The Biggs Museum of American Art will unveil the “Rebecca Raubacher: Drawings and Paintings” exhibition, its first solo show for the former Dover artist, today during an opening reception at the museum.

To register, visit

Featuring approximately 80 of Ms. Raubacher’s works, the exhibition will trace the evolution of the artist’s unique drawing style and technique and dive deeply into her recent work, focusing mostly on the human figure.

She graduated from Maryland College of Art and Design with a Certificate of Fine Arts and from Delaware State University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, both with honors.

After graduation, the Delaware State Arts Council awarded her a fellowship for painting and over the years her work has received awards and recognition from numerous sources including Howard Fox, curator at Hirshhorn Museum; Nancy Hoffman of Nancy Hoffman Gallery; David Tannous of Art in America; Grace Glueck, art critic for the New York Times; Townsend Wolfe Art Director, the Arkansas Arts Center; Susan Krane, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the High Museum of art; and Patterson Sims, curator from the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Additionally, she will lead a free, hands-on drawing workshop for kids Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. Museum staff will continue the instruction all afternoon. No registration is required.

On Aug. 10, she will be featured in “Drawing Upon Her Past: A Conversation with Rebecca Raubacher” from to 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the museum.

She and museum curator Ryan Grover will give a public lecture on the exhibition and content of the artist’s drawings and paintings chosen for the show. To register, visit the Biggs website.

The Biggs Museum is located at 406 Federal St. in Dover.

Discount Siwa tickets

Tickets for JoJo Siwa’s Sept. 1 show at the Delaware State Fairgrounds are currently being sold at a reduced rate. But you better act fast.

Delaware State Fair officials announced a Back to School special price of $29.50 plus applicable fees from now until tomorrow at 10 p.m.

There is an offer code of BACKTOSCHOOL and they can be purchased at

The Nickelodeon and YouTube star’s show starts at 7 p.m.

Grants available

The Delaware Division of the Arts is investing nearly $3 million in more than 100 arts and community organizations that will serve Delawareans statewide with arts programming and services, arts education, and arts marketing and promotion. This first round of funding for FY2020 includes: general operating support, project support, arts stabilization, startup and education resource grants.

Grant review panels, made up of Delaware artists, arts educators, arts and nonprofit organization administrators, corporate and fundraising managers, and interested community members, provided an impartial peer review of these grant applications based on established evaluation criteria, reflecting the importance of having diverse public and expert participation in the grant-making process.

Funding for the Delaware Division of the Arts comes from the Delaware General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency. In addition, the funds for capital improvements grants — provided by the Arts Stabilization Fund — are drawn from the Arts Consortium of Delaware, Inc. (ArtCo) endowment.

The division also awards grants on an ongoing basis throughout the year, including Arts Access grants, Artist Residencies, Individual Artist Fellowships, Individual Artist Opportunity grants, and TranspARTation grants.

Interested members of the public, artists, arts organizations, and community leaders are encouraged to visit the division’s website at for more details.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbes & Shaw” with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham and the comedy/drama “The Farewell.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the animated “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,” the horror film “The Curse of the La Llorana” and the comedy “Poms.”

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