Taste of Chicago tells vendors from outside Chicago that they are no longer welcome

The yearly “Taste Of Chicago” is one of the highlights of the summer festival season in Chicago – it is when thousands upon thousands brave the overpriced city parking to spend an insane amount of money on fairly mediocre food. In recent years, the assortment of vendors included several restaurants from outside the Chicago city limits – something that has come to an end.

According to the organizers, all vendors were told back in 2007 that participants had to be Chicago based, and they had a three year grace period to comply. For the 2010 lineup, five suburban vendors have been dropped, and the Taste is going back to its “roots” of only allowing Chicago based firms to sell their goods.

One of the city Aldermen even suggested that the city grant preferential treatment to Chicago residents for seating at the Pritzker music pavilion. Apparently he was “fed up with suburbanites who park their fannies in the Pritzker Pavillion’s 4,000 seats and on the lawn”.

Well, there really isn’t any better way to tell tourists that they are not welcome, and I’m sure many of those suburbanites and tourists wouldn’t mind spending their money at other festivals. Take for example the fantastic Summerfest in Milwaukee, where in my opinion the variety of food is much better than that on offer at the Taste Of Chicago.

Have you ever been to Taste Of Chicago? What did you think of it?


Chicago cancels fireworks for July 3, 2010

Looks like the people of Chi-town will have to come up with their own fireworks extravaganza this year. Breaking news from the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago’s traditional July 3 Grant Park fireworks display is canceled.

“I would say we’re doing it to be fiscally responsible, because we have to be,” said Megan McDonald, director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. “We’re also doing it to more effectively manage what happens at the Taste of Chicago, as well as citywide on an already busy holiday weekend. I think it is always challenging to manage a million, 2 million people in a very small space.”

The fireworks display – part of the Taste of Chicago – is just one of the many celebrations Chicago plans to put on hold in 2010 (the famous South Side Irish Parade, Venetian Night and the Outdoor Film Festival were also cut). Canceling these celebrations, said McDonald, will save the city between $1 million and $2 million.

Not all is lost for Chicago residents wanting to celebrate their Independence Day with a little flare. The Mayor’s office announced it will stage three smaller fireworks displays spread out along the lakefront – the North Side fireworks will be held around Montrose Beach; the South Side fireworks in the vicinity of 63rd Street Beach; and the third display will take place at Navy Pier. Each fireworks show will be 15 minutes.%Gallery-64025%