TILTON — As with many people, Darren Alexander says his whole life has been turned upside down with the coronavirus.
Alexander is known for his Alexander Concession food tent and trailer and selling food at fairs, festivals and other events. The family would go to NASCAR and various other events. They’ve been doing it for 12 years.
With about all of those events being canceled this year, he estimates he’s lost about 70 percent of his business from a year ago.
Being self employed and having to deal with social distancing and other requirements, he’s had to improvise and still try to make a living.
He’s continued to set up a food trailer at parking lots throughout the county.
Alexander said he also wanted to come up with something for several of the food trailers to get together for an event.
He said it’s either “sit back and die... or you fight to survive. This is our business and income.”
This Memorial Day weekend is a Food Trailer Frenzy at the Dollar Tree parking lot in Tilton at Illinois Route 1 and Ramp Road.
A handful of Vermilion County food trailers will be set up starting at about 11 a.m. Friday morning. They will be open daily from Friday through Monday. There’s no set time for closing each night.
“I hope it turns out to be good,” Alexander said.
Those on hand will include Alexander Concessions and the Alexander family’s Cobblers and Cream Ice Cream, Bud’s BBQ, Cafecito Cubano and Zeke’s Eats.
Alexander’s has huge fresh cut tenderloins, ribeye sandwiches, burgers, corn dogs, curly cheese fries, breaded mushrooms, fried pickle spears, sweet corn nuggets and other options.
He said for fans of the former Wiener Works, they have chili cheese hot dogs and french fry delight.
“I work harder now than I ever have,” Alexander said, adding that he’s had construction, warehouse and other jobs.
He said he’s a very sociable person and loves talking to people and meeting people from all over.
“It’s fun,” he said, adding that they take a lot of pride in their food. “There’s nothing like this job.”
Alexander said he’s been trying to stay positive through the pandemic.
Some people get tired of fast food and like the food trucks and trailers, which have grown in popularity, he added.
They appreciate the customers.