Chesapeake Square plans events

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

The food truck rodeo returns to Chesapeake Square from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

The food truck rodeo returns to Chesapeake Square from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Chesapeake Square Mall is kicking off a series of three monthly outdoor food truck rodeos Friday.

The mall has fallen into foreclosure and lost several major retailers during the last six months, including Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters. The mall has a sale date of April 21.

Amber Caudell, Chesapeake Square’s marketing director, wants the community to know that the mall is open for business and has special events planned several months ahead.

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This weekend’s event StrEAT Shopping Nights at Chesapeake Square, runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday outside the mall. The next ones are scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. May 20 and June 17.

Six Chesapeake-based food truck vendors will be on site offering fresh, specialty dishes that aren’t available in the food court, such as cupcakes, Mexican and Puerto Rican fare, Caudell said.

Visitors will also find free family entertainment, including inflatable bounce houses, face painting and music by Hampton Roads DJ.

The mall’s first series of three StrEat Shopping Nights last fall was a success, with each drawing upwards of 500 people and food truck vendors frequently running out of fare, Caudell said.

Caudell said she hopes the community will continue supporting businesses at Chesapeake Square through this period of transition.

“We just want people to know the mall is not closing … even though we are going through this foreclosure,” she said. “We are continuing to do business, and once a new management company takes over, our hope is that we can do it better than we did before. “We are still here, and we are going to continue serving the community.”

Kathy Reagan Young, founder of Western Branch Growing Forward, a Facebook page that is focused on revitalizing the community, says such events should send a good signal to local shoppers.

“I think things like this — a street party with food trucks — are a positive sign,” Young said. “The mall is not going anywhere.”

Although merchants have said the mall is less busy since news broke of the foreclosure, Young hopes a change in ownership will trigger investments in the mall.