The Vendy Awards, the beloved annual street food competition that also serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Street Vendors Project, announced this week that they'll be calling it quits after their competition later this year.

Now in its 15th year, the Vendys—New York City's longest-running contest focused on street food craftsmanship—have had a hand in elevating resident street chefs and their ingenious creations. But the final showdown on Governors Island, which is happening on September 21st, at once signals the end of an era and gestures towards street food's shifting landscape.

That's part of why they're ending it in 2019, as Tatiana Orlov, the producer for the Vendy Awards, told Gothamist.

"In a way, we succeeded in our mission to really highlight street food and street vendors in the city," Orlov said. "So we wanted to go out on top and have one big celebration and then figure out what’s next in terms of other kinds of events, other things we can do to continue to really highlight the work and contributions of street vendors in New York."

Sean Basinski, the director of the Street Vendors Project and himself a former vendor, initially started the Vendys in 2005 as a way to help advocate for and organize small business owners in New York City. The organization, part of the Urban Justice Center (which does legal services for vendors), has historically fundraised via the Vendys. And while the Vendy Awards will go away in their current iteration, the SVP is cooking up something that will take its place.

"We know we don’t want to keep producing the same event every year forever," Basinski said. "So that’s up to us to figure out how we can be creative. Is it gonna be a smaller event? A bigger event that are more accessible to a wider group? 100 bucks is great for us to raise money, but it’s a big bill for a lot of people."

There's a lot more competition presently for vendors in the city, too. These days, it's not unheard of for exceptional street vendors to receive coveted Michelin stars, and food halls, markets, and pop-ups are expanding all around the city. "The daily competition, if you will, has increased," Basinski told us. "As has the general accessibility of street food has increased, which is a great thing."

In popular culture, street food holds a different place as well. A stand that may have been a hyperlocal mainstay back then likely has much more exposure in our contemporary Instagram era than when the Vendys first started, with just a handful of Manhattan vendors in a garage. Streaming services weren't around 15 years ago, and Blockbuster didn't have shelves full of movies and TV shows celebrating the breadth and artistry of street food, as Netflix does now.

As Grubstreet notes, the Vendys' annual contest helped many beloved street vendors, including Burmese Bites and Patacon Pisao, expand from their beginnings in stalls and trucks into full-fledged storefronts and pushcarts, respectively. Now, the Vendys feature dozens of vendors from all five boroughs, hawking everything from arroz con leche to grilled lamb skewers, as they compete for the likes of Best Rookie Vendor and the ultimate prize: The Vendy Cup.

In the coming weeks, the Vendys will be announcing the list of nominees, as well as the different individual competitions that'll be happening come September. Hungry attendees can expect a blowout on Governors Island, and, if the universe abides, perhaps something even bigger. It's a dream for now, but Basinski's vision for the closing event ideally includes bringing vendors on a barge or even the ferry, "and take it for a couple of spins around the island," a food and dance party in tow. Stay tuned.

The Vendy Awards will take place on Governors Island on September 21st. You can buy tickets here.