Summer in Cameron, Missouri, just got a little sweeter. This June, the city started Food Truck Mondays: a new, weekly event that gives the community unique dining options.
The event is put on every Monday by the Old School of Cameron. It takes place in their parking lot from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the food truck lineup differs each week. All types of food from shaved ice and ice cream to hot dogs and barbeque are served. Denise Maddex, office manager at the Old School of Cameron, said the main goal is to bring more attention to the Old School.
“This building’s been sitting here for over 100 years, and people have no clue what we do here,” Maddex said. “Some people, they drive by it every day, and they don’t even see the building … We want people to say, ‘Hey, look what they’re doing here. They’re doing this for the community.’”
While the event started slow, Maddex said they are now seeing around 3 to 5 food trucks each Monday. Eventually, she would like to get a couple of picnic tables and make this a fun, summer hangout spot for the people of Cameron.
Some food trucks come from further away, such as Tina’s Truck from Overland Park and Pig Wingz from Kansas City. But there are also a few local regulars.
Foley’s Sweet Treats is owned by Brian Foley and his wife, Molly. Their family lives only a couple blocks away from the Old School of Cameron, and he initially started the food truck as something fun for his family to do. Now, they are at every Food Truck Monday serving up shaved ice and lemonades.
“We like seeing the kids’ happy faces when they get a shaved ice, and we like doing the lemonades,” Foley said. “Everybody seems to like it. It’s going pretty well so far.”
On a good day, Foley said they serve around 150 people. But, there’s still room to grow. When the event gets larger, Maddex would like to start charging vendors in an effort to fundraise money for the Old School.
“The big idea is to —when it gets big enough —is to start charging these guys to come and sit on our parking lot each Monday and be a fundraiser for the Old School,” Maddex said. “We are working on an ADA compliant elevator, raising funds for that.”
Currently, food truck vendors don’t pay anything to sell their products at the Old School on Mondays. However, most still make donations. Ray Hoffman Jr. is another Cameron native and owns Opa’s Dogs and Catering. He said that when people buy his hot dogs and lemonade, everyone benefits.
“When people come out and support us, everybody wins,” Hoffman said. “They get good products, and I get to pay my bills and feed my family. So, it’s a win-win. The Old School gets a little donation from me, so it helps everyone.”
Maddex said the event happens specifically on Mondays to give Cameron residents some unique food options. On Mondays, many restaurants in the town are closed or close early, so by offering food trucks, the Old School isn’t taking business away from local restaurants and is giving the community different choices for lunch, dinner, and dessert. Hoffman said so far, the town seems to be enjoying it.
“They’re very happy to be here, and I have a lot of regulars that come back,” Hoffman said.
Maddex is already booking food trucks for August and September, and plans to keep the event going through the end of October. Foley said he and his wife enjoy being a small business in a small town, and plan on continuing to show up every Monday.
“We plan on being here every Monday. I don’t think we’ve missed one yet,” Foley said. “So, we’re going to keep going.”
Maddex regularly updates the Old School of Cameron’s Facebook page with each week’s food truck lineup. The Old School of Cameron was built in 1914 and is the home of the Historical Preservation Society of Cameron. The building itself displays historical photos from the city, houses community-oriented businesses and showrooms, and puts on events in the city of Cameron.