36th annual Taste of Chicago attracts 1.4 million attendees
Culinary delights, capacity concerts and cooking demos saturated the atmosphere at the 36th annual free Taste of Chicago festival July 6-10 at Grant Park, attracting approximately 1.4 million participants who sampled over 200 menu items.
"As the first food festival of its type in the world, Taste of Chicago is still going strong after 36 years," Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO Sam Toia said. "As an economic engine, Taste drives tourism to our city and gives locals and visitors alike the opportunity to sample our City's diverse culinary offerings."
Celebrity chefs prepared meals for diners at one pavilion, while mixologists hosted demonstrations of their novel libations in addition to the fest’s regular beer hall and wine garden fare.
“Being able to showcase our locally distilled spirits and taking part in Taste of Chicago … was a wonderful opportunity,” Tremaine Atkinson, owner/founder of CH Distillery and one of 20 first-time exhibitors, said. “We were thrilled to offer residents and visitors a unique experience on Buckingham Fountain Plaza.”
Hand-crafted items complemented the scene at the festival’s “ChicagoMade Marketplace,” offering apparel, accessories, art and other locally designed products, while podcasts aired from the “Food for Thought” pavilion with discussions from nationally known personalities.
Taste of Chicago is produced annually by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in conjunction with the Illinois Restaurant Association.