Taste of Chicago Considers Fewer Festival Days

By Soyoung Kwak in Food on Oct 9, 2011 6:00PM

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Photo by drew*in*chicago

We realize that summer is over, but concerns over Taste of Chicago's affordability and longevity are still floating around. Vendors this year felt a noticeable difference in the amount of cash flow from last year's profits as the Chicago Park District struggled to host the event in early July.

The Chicago Park District hosted Taste of Chicago and attracted 2.35 million people, which is the festival's the smallest overall crowd since 1986. Next year, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Affairs will take the reigns and try to boost attendance and figure out a way to make the Taste of Chicago a profitable enterprise, which means that the department will consider shedding some festival days off the calendar. There have been a lot of debates over the focus of the festival, as former Mayor Daley stressed that the festival should be about the food and not the expensive musical acts.

Although it is tough to say how city officials plan to bolster Taste of Chicago attendance while talking about fewer festival days, Mayor Emanuel was pleased with this year's festival overall, and said that he would "keep the emphasis on the restaurants while trying to find a way for the festival not to lose money."