Amid the rusticity of lush, rolling pastures, grazing livestock, cornfields and cottages comes an out-of-place sensual barrage. There is the hum of motors and the sound of sizzling flat-tops, occasionally drowned out by live music resounding over the pastoral quiet. The smell of oil, spices and browning meat, edged by a slight odor of gasoline, hangs over the fields. People have arrived, grazing on paper-plated noshes as they wander like the resident sheep, taking in the site now peppered by rattling trucks, vendors and a holler-filled kids' zone. This setting, this confusingly delightful smash-up of past and present, can only be one thing - the Rural Hill Food Truck Rally.
Due to the outpouring of positive response to the last two incarnations of the event, Rural Hill is bringing the free admission food fest back to its rustic grounds again on Friday, July 26. Like before, it will feature live music, activities and merchants to complement the eateries. And, due to the popularity of the previous events, the truck roster has expanded and strengthened.
In addition to the return of the popular Wingzza , The Roaming Fork and Roots Farm Food trucks, citywide favorites Maki Taco and newcomer King of Pops have also signed on to appear at the coming rally, with at least 15 other trucks.
"We've done a few other events at Rural Hill and we've always done pretty well there. We like the scene, too," said Kathy Budiyasa, a partner at Maki Taco, which serves a Pan-Asian twist on the classic Latin-American street food.
Veterans of the Rural Hill rallies seem to appreciate the environment, too, and are seeking to do what they can to make the most of the opportunity.
"It was a huge turnout, a lot of fun and a great setting," said Craig Barbour, owner of Roots Farm Food truck, of last year's first rally. "We like the people who run Rural Hill, and we want to do whatever we can to support them and make their endeavors successful."
According to Barbour, this includes "pulling out all the stops" and doing something "a little more special and off-the-wall" with the truck's ever-changing and diverse menu, which focuses on utilizing local, seasonal ingredients, for the rally.
On top of the returning trucks, local band The Moonshine Racers will also be coming back to deliver patrons its signature "progressive-y'allternative" musical stylings. Craft beer from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville and wine from Shelton Vineyards near Mount Airy will be sold on the premises as well.
The Rural Hill Food Truck Rally will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. July 26 at Historic Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Rd., Huntersville, N.C. Admission is free, but truck food prices vary. For more information, visit www.ruralhill.net.