Sew Hungry, the community event that sees gourmet food trucks line Ottawa Street for one day twice a year, has won the city of Hamilton's Economic Development department a national marketing award.
The Economic Developers Association of Canada's Marketing Canada Awards were presented at EDAC's 44th annual conference. The EDAC reviewed more than 160 submissions and awarded Sew Hungry first place in the promotions/events category. The event also won the EDAC Cup Contender Award.
Penny Gardiner, CEO of the EDAC, said that comments from the judging comment noted that the event was "truly unique" and possessed "excellent grassroots support as seen on social media."
The event's success — last year Sew Hungry won a provincial award from the Economic Development Association of Ontario — is down to its healthy local support, said Michael Marini, marketing coordinator of Hamilton's Economic Development Division, Planning & Economic Development Department.
That success comes at no great expense to the city, said Marini.
"The marketing has only been through social media," said Marini. "It's marketing the city but not spending any money doing it. It's a testament to [the vibrancy] of social media in Hamilton."
"Sew Hungry is a good example for the rest of Canada on how to promote BIAs," he added, noting that local restaurants and shops on Ottawa Street also benefit from the community event.
"We're elated to have won a national award," said Sew Hungry organizer Elisha Proietti.
Proietti said that the event is perfectly suited to a city like Hamilton.
"It's really a social media savvy city," she said, adding that "Hamilton has really embraced food trucks."
The last Sew Hungry took place Sept. 21. An estimated 15,000 people turned out to sample goods from more than 20 food trucks, including 12 local Hamilton food trucks.
Prioetti said that the twice-annual event will continue to grow and evolve as it goes into its fourth year. Moreover she said that community response has been strongly supportive.
"My favourite comment so far was that whether or not it makes their cash registers ring, they love to see the street filled with people."