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H&8th Cancelled

Sad to say it, but our chance to say goodbye to H&8th is being washed away by today’s rain. Brian Bergman, coordinator of the monthly food truck festival, sent out the following message just minutes ago to food truck vendors:

“Weather is looking worse and worse and we had held out hope against hope… but alas … We hate to say it, but we’re going to go ahead and cancel tonight. We love you all and love what may come in future months and years. This isn’t goodbye, just see you later. Enjoy the off season and be safe and warm tonight. All of this never could have happened without you.”

The volunteer-driven, nonprofit event was founded by Laura Massenat, owner of Elemental Coffee, Chef Jonathon Stranger, co-owner of Ludivine and The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, and J.D. Merryweather, co-owner of COOP Ale Works. It started when Merryweather visited with Massenat at her coffee shop about similar events held in other cities and they persuaded Stranger to join them in launching their own food truck market.

The festival had an awkward start on Aug. 26, 2011, when more than 200 people showed up early in the evening only to have their fun interrupted just 30 minutes into the festival by a force of 27 inspectors and agents representing police and fire departments, code enforcement, the Health Department and the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission. The response, which included ABLE agents flashing guns and badges, drew public criticism of the agencies, but ended up fueling publicity that attracted thousands to attend the ensuing festivals.

When Jonathan Fowler joined in as a sponsor, he brought his passion for live music and the event grew even more to the point it has drawn up to 45,000 people to Hudson Avenue and NW 8. But with such success the organizers agreed their initial goal of placemaking had been met and they called this year the last. 

Tonight was to be the big send off, with only one annual H&8th to occur in connection with the annual DNA bicycle race next summer.

And so it goes. Oklahoma City is far better off thanks to the hard work and change accomplished by Brian, Laura Massenat, J.D. Merryweather, Jonathan Stranger and others in kicking this off four years ago. It’s been a great run, one that drew some of the largest crowds in the country for a monthly food truck festival. My suggestion: buy a Coop Ale tonight, grab a great meal at Ludivine, or a coffee at  Elemental, and say thanks, tip well, and cherish the memories.

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›