One of the most anticipated summer events is Taste of Chicago, happening from July 10th to 4th. Now in its 33rd run, this summer celebration of Chicago dining has faced a number of challenges in its recent years. Sinking attendance over the past few summers caused a significant loss in revenue. Last year, in hopes of saving some dough, the festival was cut to just five days instead of ten and moved to the middle of July rather than its traditional spot on the Independence Day weekend.
The changes continue in 2013 as Taste of Chicago works to stay exciting and relevant to festival-goers. This summer, along with the many booths and pop-ups that serve up the bite-size tastes that the festival is known for, food trucks will be invited to participate for the first time. Chicago has had a rocky relationship with the burgeoning food truck industry, but this move looks to be a positive step for both the trucks, which enjoy significant popularity among Chicago diners, and the festival itself.
Food trucks will be focused on the area around the Petrillo Music Shell, serving concert goers starting an hour before each show and throughout the duration. Like the other vendors, full-size and “tastes” will be featured on each truck’s menu, and the festival’s meal tickets can be used. Food trucks will not be charged the typical application fee as booth vendors are; instead, they’ll be held to a percentage fee, with 25 percent of their sales going back to the city in exchange for participation.
With big name acts such as the band Fun., as well as local Chicago favorites on the lineup, Taste of Chicago is on the right track to drawing in big crowds this summer.