"Denver on a whole is starting to have a bigger food scene in ten-by-ten tents," says Brad Lewis, co-owner of event company Gum Pop Presents
. That trend has taken off since the pandemic, with many people pivoting to entrepreneurship and starting new ventures — particularly in the food space, where they can do so without taking the more common (and more expensive) food-truck route. Now, Gum Pop Presents is launching a new summer series that will showcase many of those vendors: Street Food Social
The company is behind some of Denver's most popular events. It got its start when the team launched TheBigWonderful
in 2015 and the Denver Bazaar
soon after. "For simplification, we created the mother entity Gum Pop Presents, which allowed us to broaden into other events and brands," Lewis explains. Its lineup now also includes Park Hill Farm & Flea and People + Produce at Belleview Station.
"We have a history of doing variations on outdoor markets, but with more of a shopping focus with bars and music," Lewis says. "But we found on a weekly basis, something that draws people in more regularly is food."
The idea behind Street Food Social is to give people a chance to sample many different, smaller items from a variety of vendors at a fun and lively community event with music and boozy beverages. "It's like taking a food hall and putting it outside," Lewis notes. "Denver's ready for it. There's been an explosion of food halls."
The event will pop up at three different locations: Park Hill/Oneida Park one Thursday a month from 4 to 8 p.m. (May 26, June 23, July 28 and August 18); Sloan's Lake every Saturday, June 11 through September 24, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Belmar in Lakewood every Friday, June 3 through September 30 from 5 to 9 p.m.
The Sloan's Lake event is an all-day affair that will have a focus on brunch early in the day and move to more of a night market in the evening.
All of the events will be zero-waste affairs. "That's always been a part of the ethos from the early days of TheBigWonderful. It's something we're passionate about," Lewis says. Each vendor is committed to the event's zero-waste policy, and compostable to-go supplies will be used. Gum Pop Presents has also partnered with Compost Colorado to reduce its carbon footprint.
New to this event series is Weekly Fan Fav voting. "The idea and hope is to have people try multiple things," Lewis explains. Attendees will be able to purchase token packages to try the four or more items competing at each location each week; a vote will determine one winner per location per week. At the end of the series, Gum Pop Presents will reward the overall winner with a $5,000 scholarship that it can use to help grow its business. "It's a great opportunity for us to promote these food upstart vendors," Lewis notes. "It's fun for us, and it's a way to engage the public."
For more information about Street Food Social, visit streetfoodsocialco.com.