Thousands of people are expected to descend upon the Mission District in San Francisco this Saturday for the 3rd annual La Cocina San Francisco Street Food Festival.

More than 70 different vendors will be on hand, each with a different taste of what they have to offer. Many of those participating are actually part of La Cocina’s incubator program. Several top San Francisco restaurants and food trucks are also taking their spots amongst the crowd.

A few changes this year: more space in the streets so that lines will be a little more manageable than last year. And La Cocina has also brought in some mobile vendors from outside the Bay Area to participate this year. They include Ingrid’s Lunch Box (Madison), Big Ass Sandwiches (Portland) and Skillet Street Food (Seattle). All of the out-of-town vendors are generously donating all of their proceeds to La Cocina.

All of the vendors accept cash only and items are all $8 or less. But festival goers can also buy a passport ranging from $50-250, which will come with a street food journal, special treats and savings on food. Passports can be purchased online.

If last year was any indication, the best time to go to the festival might be earlier in the day (it runs from 11-7). I remember several vendors running out of items by early to mid-afternoon and having to create different things on the fly. Expect them to be better prepared this year for the expected massive crowds.

The SF Street Food Festival is being held on Folsom Street between 22nd and 26th streets, with seating available on adjacent streets between Treat and Shotwell.

Along with the festival, La Cocina is hosting the 2nd annual National Street Food Conference at the Fort Mason Center on Sunday and Monday. The conference features several panel discussions and breakaway groups aimed at helping vendors or potential vendors with the issues facing the industry across the country and ways to maintain a successful business model and plan.



Photo is from 2010 SF Street Food Festival