TRAVERSE CITY — The unofficial start to summer usually begins with a few close friends, great food, favorite brews and a bonfire. With its own little twist on this tradition, The Little Fleet’s Summer Launch Party, held on Sunday, surely made it feel like summer had arrived.

Little Fleet owner Gary Jonas partnered with Troy Daily, of Create TC, to fill the outdoor space with food trucks, live music and beer and margarita stations. Daily has led many other local projects, including the TC Ale Trail, TC Cycle Pub and Paddle For Pints.

With a great space and an enthusiasm for local beer and food markets, Jonas and Daily set out to create an amazing start to summer.

“What better way to do it than with music, great summer beer, a margarita bar, food trucks and lots of people?” said Daily.

In the last two years, Little Fleet has become a go-to spot for many locals and tourists. With its parking lot full of food trucks, and its casual bar and outdoor seating, Little Fleet served as the perfect venue to usher in the vibes of summer.

“I am proud of the fact that The Little Fleet paved the way for the food truck scene and made it easy for vendors to vend.  Most of all, I’m proud of the environment we’ve created at The Little Fleet.  Casual, laid back, fun.  It’s a place everyone can connect to,” said Jonas.

The Summer Launch Party exemplified this, as the expanded outdoor space filled with people of all ages, families, Bayshore Marathon runners and even a couple of dogs. Eight food trucks were on site, providing attendees with plenty of choices. Trucks included local favorites Roaming Harvest and Pigs Eatin’ Ribs, along with newcomers Wings ‘n Things and Daily Blend.

Little Fleet is not only known for its great selection of food, but also its dedication to local beer and great cocktails. Little Fleet’s extended liquor license enabled them to sell beer and margaritas outdoors alongside the food trucks. The beer station featured brews from Beggar’s Brewery, Beard’s Brewery, and Right Brain Brewing. The margarita bar featured freshly squeezed lime and grapefruit margaritas.

Add some great live music from Slinky & The Stairs, Hollywood Makeout and Fly Paper, and you had the casual, laid back and fun atmosphere Little Fleet is known for.

Jonas hopes to create this atmosphere throughout the summer. In a series of “Lot 448” events, Little Fleet will extend its reach into the parking lot each month for a different themed party. These events include: Little Fleet’s 2-year Anniversary Party in June, a Hot Art Party in July, a Pop-Up Arcade in August and Oktoberfest in September.

“We just want to continue to have fun doing what we do,” said Jonas.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery