The overwhelming response to the planned NWI Food Truck Festival this summer far exceeded what organizers imagined, so they've moved it to a larger venue, the new Founders Square Park in downtown Portage.

Organizer Monica Jimenez-Susoreny said the festival now expects 30,000 to 40,000 attendees, including 7,000 to 9,000 people at a time, based on the viral reaction on Facebook. The original location, in Schererville, just wasn't big enough for the anticipated crowds.

"The event was originally slated for Schererville, Indiana. This was a hard decision for us to make," Jimenez-Susoreny said. 

"However, due to the size of the event and the time, the location was unable to accommodate the event; we had to make this decision for the best interest of our attendees."

The NWI Food Truck Festival will take place at 11 a.m. June 17 at Founder's Square, 6300 Founders Square in Portage.

"The new location has many benefits, including the space needed for the size and time of the event, a splash pad, staging and amenities," Jimenez-Susoreny said. 

"We appreciate your support and patronage, and we understand everyone's concern. We hope to see you at the NWI Food Truck Fest."

DJ Chef, a "Cutthroat Kitchen" champion from the Food Network, will provide live entertainment, including DJ-ing and live cooking demonstrations. He'll also sell autographed merchandise and meet and greet with VIP ticket-holders.

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Scheduled food trucks include The Cajun Connoisseur Food Truck, Cool Runnings Jamaican Cuisine, Grindhouse Cafe, Bill's Grill BBQ, Iscream N Cookies, Lulu's Licks, Chesa's Gluten Tootin Free, and SizzleBox. Also, the Cheesy Truck, Dogs N Hogs, Mother TruckN Good Food Truck, Celtic Pig, American Glory, Peace Love and Grub, Mother Wilma's Marshmallow Factory, and Da Portable Rican.

Tickets are $7 in advance. Organizers already have sold tickets to people from as far away as New York, Kansas, Utah and Missouri, and are looking at partnering with local hotels to accommodate out-of-town visitors.

For more information, visit facebookcom/NWIFoodTruckFest or


Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.