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City to Put Taste of Chicago Management to Bid

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 7, 2011 3:35PM

Image Creedit: Steven Lee

Special Events and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Michelle Boone told the City Council Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation that the contract for managing Taste of Chicago would be placed out to bid. The announcement is another effort by the City to stem the tide of red ink resulting from the festival, which saw its lowest attendance numbers in a quarter-century this year.

Management for Taste has long been handled by the Illinois Restaurant Association. Restaurant association president Sheila O'Grady is a former chief of staff for former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Last year the association partnered with AEG Live and Jam Productions in a bid to privatize the festival, which went over as well as could be expected.

O'Grady expressed confidence that, should the association enter the bidding process, they could put together an attractive offer.

We are the creators of the event and have worked on it for a long time. We have an expertise in management of it. [But], we fully understand why they want to test the market,” said O’Grady.