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Taste Of Chicago Posts $320,000 Profit This Year

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Oct 5, 2015 2:50PM

Taste of Chicago has made a $320,205 profit this year, surprising many who have followed the downtown foodie fest's financial ups and downs.

This is good news for the fest, which lost money last year. After rain drove the city to cancel one day of the four-day fest last year—Saturday, traditionally the most popular day—Taste of Chicago posted about $169,000 in losses. According to the Tribune's tally, the fest yo-yoed back up into a profit of $272,000 in 2013 after losing a jarring $1.3 million in 2012.

City officials claim attendance was a bit lower at this year's Taste than in 2013, the last year that the fest didn't have to be shortened over rain; about 1.4 million people came to gather in Grant Park and eat bite-size versions of some of Chicago's most popular restaurant fare, compared to 1.5 million in 2013. Attendance in 2014 hit 1.1 million due to the Saturday cancellation.

The Tribune credits some of the recent changes to the fest, spearheaded by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with helping the Taste find its footing as a profitable summer street fest. Emanuel has made an effort to improve revenue by shortening the Taste from a 10 day long affair to four days and charging extra money for special features like the $45 Celebrity Chef du Jour \ meal and "premium" concert seats.