For the first time ever, University of Hawaii football fans will have a say in which foods they can sample at Aloha Stadium during game days.
Centerplate, which owns food vending rights at the stadium, invited season ticket holders to sample a variety of fares during a Saturday expo that attracted hundreds.
Food vendors who receive the most fan votes will be invited to setup shop at the stadium during six home games from Sept. 15 to Dec. 1.
“At the end of the day, we'll actually go back and tally and we'll look at what the fans really want to have here at the stadium,” said Centerplate spokeswoman Samantha Spain. “They get to decide.”
Judging by the long lines, some clear fan favorites emerged. Paul’s Poppers and May’s Kalua Pork Sliders ran out of ballots before they could give away all of their free samples.
“If the people of Hawaii want us in the UH games, we're definitely going to be here,” said Paul Park, owner of Paul’s Poppers. “You don't want to be stuck with eating hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza the entire time of the year, right?”
Judging by the turnout, the food expo could become an annual event at the stadium, at least that’s the hope among many of the vendors.
“I think it's a great concept,” said Judy McDonald, of May’s. “There were people in line when they opened the gates this morning (and) it's been a constant flow all day, so I think people are having fun.”
During past UH football seasons, Centerplate has invited an average of 15 independent food vendors to the stadium. Spain said the goal is provide fans as much variety as possible.
“We're just looking to see ways that we can expand, and obviously make that fan experience more memorable for them,” she said. “We love all of our different mixed plates and whatnot, and we want to make sure that there's something for everybody.”
UH opens its home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 15 against Lamar University. The rest of the home schedule includes Nevada, New Mexico, Boise State, UNLV and South Alabama.