- Event Details
Taste of Chicago is the
nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of
Chicago's dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste
of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the
entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago's beautiful Grant Park
on the city's magnificent lakefront has been home to the world's largest
In 1980 a group of restaurateurs approached the Mayor of Chicago with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July, and Taste of Chicago was born. Inspired by a “build it and they will come” attitude, a $150,000 budget, and confidence the event could attract 75,000 people, plans for the one-day food frenzy got under way.
The festival was held in a three-block area of Michigan Avenue bordered by the Chicago River and the upscale stores and buildings that were then beginning to grace the Magnificent Mile; and between the architectural wonders of the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower.
It was a huge success, (250,000 attended the first “Taste,” and food and soda sales grossed $330,000) destined to change the way Chicago celebrates the Fourth of July.
Due to the overwhelming response from the people of Chicago, a larger space to accommodate even more people and restaurants was deemed necessary and in 1981, Taste of Chicago was moved to Grant Park (Chicago’s “front yard”).
Grant Park is centrally located, easily accessible to public transportation and parking, and is identifiable to citizens and visitors as the center of the Grant Park Cultural community which includes the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Oceanarium, Field Museum, Cultural Center, Michigan Avenue and State Street Shopping. The use of Grant Park as a venue would also afford utilization of the Petrillo Music Shell, originally designed for us by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. This would handily give access to a stage, dressing rooms and showers for performers, as well as seating for 5000 people.
Description of Taste of Chicago
The Taste of Chicago that evolved from that steamy July 4th in 1980 is the second largest tourist attraction in Illinois. For ten days, this free-admission festival, now in its 31st year, is the place to be, infusing the city with a holiday spirit and attracting lead stories each day in newspapers and on television.
It is an impressive scene. Colorfully decorated tents surround the outside kitchens of more than 59 restaurants from all over Chicagoland, which also includes a daily upscale restaurant serving in the Gourmet Pavilion. Exotic aromas permeate the air and no visitor leaves the Taste with an empty stomach.
Taste of Chicago annually attracts more than 2.5 million visitors from all over the city, the suburbs, U.S. and internationally.
In 1989, the focus for Taste shifted to a family theme and the event became “America’s City Picnic.” In that spirit, many other attractions with family appeal were added.
In 2011, the Chicago Park District inherited the Taste of Chicago and looks forward to continuing the tradition of celebrating summer with local food, amazing entertainment and family fun.
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