Lexington's Breeders' Cup Festival got off to a tasty, if damp, start on Saturday at the Feeders' Cup.
Hundreds of people — the event capped attendance at 3,000 — came in the gates of Whitaker Bank Ballpark as soon as it opened to sample fare from 21 food trucks from Lexington and surrounding states. The offerings included barbecue, ice cream, ramen noodle cups and cake bites. One truck, the Military Moms food truck, came from Fort Drum, N.Y.
Dustin and Karissa Ball of Lexington shared the Red-headed Mac and Cheese from Military Moms with sons Aiden and Hudson. "That macaroni and cheese is really good," Dustin Ball said.
Jordan and Whitley Marcum came from Nicholasville for the event.
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"I do consider myself a foodie," Jordan said.
What were they looking forward to sampling?
"Everything," Whitley Marcum said. "I"m pregnant, so this is a wonderful place to come. We hear about all these places and now we get a chance to try them out."
Zach and Rachael Jones of Lexington were working their way around the outfield, sampling as they went.
"I like food trucks a lot, and he likes to eat a lot, so it was kind of the perfect event for us," Rachael Jones said.
Long lines quickly developed at some trucks. Early on, Erica Faulkner of Lexington said she was a fan of the jerk chicken and catfish from Snack Shack. Later, after she had sampled from about half the trucks, it was still the one to beat in her book.
The Feeders' Cup also let people vote for favorites, with the winners getting cash prizes along with the chance to set up their trucks at Cheapside Pavilion on Main Street for the weeklong Breeders' Cup Festival of music, art and events leading to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Keeneland on Oct. 30-31.
Mary Beth Monroe of Lexington recommended Hill of Beans Bar-B-Que from Lawrenceburg. "It's crazy good," she said. "But so is that ramen ball at Gastro Gnomes."
Craig Wilkins, owner of Hill of Beans, said he was glad to be invited to Feeders' Cup. "I think it's a great thing for the public and for businesses," he said. "We get recognition. And they get to sample what we have all the time."
Winners of the event will be announced on Facebook.