I heard the news on the radio. Taste of Chicago is going to be revamped (again) for 2012. The Taste will be chopped from 10 days to 5, and moved from the 4th of July week to mid-July (July 11-15 to be exact). I had always thought that the excitement from the Taste came from its grand proportions – of food, music and crowds. Yes, I said it, the crowds. The immense, hungry crowds walking their way into Grant Park, bibs tied on to catch the drool, in anticipation of sampling the flavors that make Chicago the dining capital of the world! The Taste was the thing to do leading up to the 4th of July.
So why make these changes? The organizers want the focus to be put back into the food – with renowned chefs coming in, featuring not only Chicago favorites, but also “offerings from Chicago’s new and emerging culinary scene” – - less festival and more “foodie”. And the reason for the change in date? It would mean less competition with other festivals that take place during that busy and bustling summer holiday, like Naperville’s Ribfest and Milwaukee’s Summerfest.
For me, the Taste of Chicago was the big kickoff to summer. It was the turkey leg in hand, triple scoop of ice cream, and deep dish pizza enjoyment, while waiting for Elvis Costello one night and the spectacular fireworks production on another, simply feeling that sense of awe to be there. That is now a thing of the past. We’ll have to wait until the middle of summer to see just exactly what the new Taste will look like, but I’m sure I won’t be the only one who’ll still be heading there, with drool bib in hand.
Click here for upcoming details on Taste of Chicago 2012.
- Jocelyn Flojo