Taste of Chicago Shortened, No Longer on Fourth of July
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
The showcase summer festival Taste of Chicago will be shortened and moved to later in July next year.
City of Chicago officials said Wednesday that the lakefront festival will run five days from July 11 to 15 in Grant Park. The festival traditionally ran over the Fourth of July holiday and last year was 10 days long.
Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events spokesperson Cyndi Gatziolis says the shortened schedule will make the Taste more accessible to smaller restaurants and help the city save money.
"There's a cost to being out there every single day, and that certainly is one of the reasons why with this financial model we're looking to (will) save some of that money," said Gatziolis.
This is the first year Taste of Chicago will be run by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Last year, the city tried to privatize the event, but those plans fell through when the only bidder threatened to charge admission. The Taste of Chicago was then turned over to the Chicago Park District. Days after last year's festival ended, the head of the Chicago Park District said the city lost money on the event.
There are also changes to the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, which will be staged at several locations, including the South Side's Bronzeville neighborhood. The gospel festival will run from June 21 to 24.
Other large events on the city's calendar in 2012 include the Chicago Blues Festival in June, the Chicago Air and Water Show in August, the Chicago Jazz Festival in late August and early September, and the World Music Festival in mid-September.