Sunday, October 17, 2021

Shirt Factory on-again, off-again, food truck Thursday is on again

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Eric Unkauf owns The Shirt Factory and produces the outdoor Thursday afternoon food truck event. Chronicle photo/Mark Frost

Food Truck Thursday at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls is back on — hopefully for good — after last week’s was cancelled.

Here’s what happened.

Glens Falls Fire Chief and COVID response chief James Schrammel took a fresh look at the Shirt Factory’s weekly Food Truck Corral after Shirt Factory owner Eric Unkauf and Glens Falls Mayor Dan Hall had a conversation about the cancelled Take a Bite food festivals downtown.

Mr. Unkauf says that after reading a Post-Star article on Take a Bite’s cancellation, he called the mayor to ask, “Are we okay?”

That set the rest in motion. The question was whether the Shirt Factory had to adhere to the state’s 50 person limit — which would be met by vendors alone at his Thursday afternoon event, let alone by attendees.

Mr. Unkauf cancelled last Thursday’s food event on Wednesday, but with further discussion — and new more vigorous safety protocols, Mr. Unkauf says — the series is back on track for this week.

“The Fire Department conferred with the state about the situation and came to an understanding of how the event can proceed.” Mr Unkauf tells The Chronicle.

This includes moving some vendors to allow more social distancing on lines, especially for popular stands like the lemonade truck and the mac and cheese vendor.

He’s adding more signage reminding guests to wear masks while not seated and eating. “We are going to be like Stewart’s,” Mr. Unkauf says. “No mask, no service, end of story.” He said most patrons comply, “but you have the 10th of a percent who don’t, but everybody is dealing with that.”

“I have no ill will towards the City or the Fire Department,” Mr. Unkauf said. “We all, everyone would rather play on the side of safety. At some level I’m at least relieved that we have been approved at the state level at this point. It’s only gonna make the event better and safer.”

Typically this year, Shirt Factory Thursday has 20 to 30 vendors, about a third of what they’ve had normally. They’re also seeing about a third of attendance.

They’ve done away with the children’s activities, pony rides, bounce houses and other such attractions. They do continue to have live acoustic music by local artists, following state protocols, including keeping the musicians 12 feet from guests.

Mr. Unkauf said he was able to alert the vendors about last week’s cancellation before they’d invested or prepped too much. “So they’re okay. One guy who makes a beef brisket that takes 16 hours, he was able to find another location.”

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