Taste of Chicago
The Taste of Chicago is the world's largest food festival
Food festival
A food festival is a festival, usually held annually, that uses food, often produce, as its central theme. "These festivals have always been a means of uniting communities through celebrations of harvests and giving thanks for a plentiful growing season...

, held annually for ten days in Grant Park
Grant Park (Chicago)
Grant Park, with between the downtown Chicago Loop and Lake Michigan, offers many different attractions in its large open space. The park is generally flat. It is also crossed by large boulevards and even a bed of sunken railroad tracks...

, in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 starting the Friday before the 4th of July
Independence Day (United States)
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain...

 and ending the Sunday after (in the event July 4th is a Saturday, the festival begins on the Friday eight days before). The event is the largest festival in Chicago. Non-food-related events include live music on multiple stages, including the Petrillo Music Shell
Petrillo Music Shell
James C. Petrillo Music Shell or simply Petrillo Music Shell or Petrillo Bandshell as it is more commonly known, is an outdoor amphitheater/bandstand in Grant Park in the Loop community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States...

, pavilions, and film performances. Musical acts vary from local artists to nationally known artists like Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion...

, Moby
Richard Melville Hall , better known by his stage name Moby, is an American musician, DJ, and photographer. He is known mainly for his sample-based electronic music and his outspoken liberal political views, including his support of veganism and animal rights.Moby gained attention in the early...

, and Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers
Kenneth Donald "Kenny" Rogers is an American singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur...

. Since 2008, The Chicago Country Music Festival no longer occurs simultaneously with Taste of Chicago as it departed the Taste of Chicago for its own two-day festival typically held in the fall. Rides are also present, such as a Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel
The original Ferris Wheel, sometimes also referred to as the Chicago Wheel, was the centerpiece of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois....

 and the Jump to Be Fit.
In 2005, the Taste attracted about 3.5 million people with over 70 food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

 vendors. Foods at the event include Chicago-style pizza
Chicago-style pizza
Chicago-style pizza is a deep-dish pizza style developed in Chicago. Chicago-style pizza has a buttery crust up to three inches tall at the edge, slightly higher than the large amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce, acting as a large bowl. The term also refers to "stuffed" pizza, another...

, Chicago hot dogs
Chicago-style hot dog
A Chicago-style hot dog, or Chicago Dog, is a steamed or water-simmered all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun, originating from the city of Chicago, Illinois...

, barbecue
Barbecue or barbeque , used chiefly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia is a method and apparatus for cooking meat, poultry and occasionally fish with the heat and hot smoke of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of...

d ribs, Italian Beef
Italian beef
An Italian beef is a sandwich of thin slices of seasoned roast beef, dripping with meat juices, on a dense, long Italian-style roll, believed to have originated in Chicago, where its history dates back at least to the 1930s...

, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, Eli's Cheesecake
Eli's Cheesecake
Eli's Cheesecake is a cheesecake company based in Chicago, Illinois. Eli's original plain cheesecake, which has been called "Chicago's most famous dessert", is made of cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a butter shortbread cookie crust...

, and a variety of ethnic and regional foods.

A record total of 3.6 million people visited the 2006 Taste of Chicago. Attendance for the previous record 10-day event, in 2004, was 3.59 million, with $12.33 million in revenue.

In 2007, for first time in its history, the Taste of Chicago was affected by a salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

 outbreak that affected over 700 people and led to the hospitalization of 12. The outbreak was reportedly traced to hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the...

 served at the Pars Cove booth.


Arnie Morton
Arnie Morton
Arnold "Arnie" Morton was a restaurateur who founded Morton's Restaurant Group/Morton's Steakhouse. He is the father of Peter Morton, owner of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and co-founder of Hard Rock Cafe; of Michael Morton, head of the N9NE Group, which operates contemporary American steakhouses...

 is the creator of the event, inspired when he attended a much smaller similar event in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in the late 1970s. He decided to line up Chicago restaurants to participate and persuaded then Mayor Jane Byrne
Jane Byrne
Jane Margaret Byrne was the first and to date only female Mayor of Chicago. She served from April 16, 1979 to April 29, 1983. Chicago is the largest city in the United States to have had a female mayor as of 2011.-Early political career:...

 and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg
Lois Weisberg
Lois Weisberg was the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, Illinois from 1989 until January 2011. She founded the Chicago Cultural Center and Friends of the Park, and was responsible for the establishment of the renowned Gallery 37 program, which gathered Chicago youths to a vacant block...

 to block off Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue may refer to:* Michigan Avenue * Michigan Avenue , a designation for much of both current and former U.S. Route 12 in Michigan...

 for the first Taste of Chicago on July 4, 1980. Of the 100,000 people the organizers expected, over 250,000 showed up, with food and soda sales grossing $300,000 at its inception. The next year, the Taste of Chicago was moved to Grant Park and grew in size and scope, becoming a 10-day event with more food vendors and musical performers; it also became the world's largest food festival.

ChicagoFest was a summer music festival in the city of Chicago,started in 1978 by Mayor Michael Bilandic. It was held annually at Navy Pier, and lasted for roughly two weeks. It featured sixteen separate stages, each sponsored by a national retail brand and a media sponsor compatible to the stage's...

, started by mayor Michael Bilandic, was the precursor to the Taste of Chicago. After Bilandic's tenure in office, newly elected Mayor Jane Byrne
Jane Byrne
Jane Margaret Byrne was the first and to date only female Mayor of Chicago. She served from April 16, 1979 to April 29, 1983. Chicago is the largest city in the United States to have had a female mayor as of 2011.-Early political career:...

 attempted to end the festival as well as many other programs associated with the former mayor. Many Chicagoans disapproved of Mayor Byrne's attempt to stop the festivities (although attendance at ChicagoFest had begun to wane). She and her successor, Mayor Harold Washington
Harold Washington
Harold Lee Washington was an American lawyer and politician who became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.- Early years and military service :...

, dedicated more time and energy to promoting the Taste, slowly phasing ChicagoFest out in the process. Mayor Washington finally put an end to ChicagoFest when in 1983 it was moved from Navy Pier
Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. The pier was built in 1916 at a cost of $4.5 million, equivalent to $ today. It was a part of the Plan of Chicago developed by architect and...

 to Soldier Field
Soldier Field
Soldier Field is located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in the Near South Side. It is home to the NFL's Chicago Bears...

 and attendance continued to wane.

The popularity of the Taste of Chicago has prompted other cities to spawn numerous offshoots and equivalents throughout the United States, such as the Taste of Champaign, CityFest
The New Center Park has expanded to become a summer long series of weekly events held in the New Center area. It includes outdoor movies and concerts, happy hour, summer Jazz, and regular events for families and children. It began as TastFest, then became the annual five-day CityFest food festival...

 in Detroit, the Taste of the Danforth
Taste of the Danforth
Taste of the Danforth is a yearly festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in the Greektown area along Danforth Avenue for a period of three days in August, spawned from the Taste of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Started in 1994, it celebrates Greek food and culture every second...

 in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, the Taste of Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo, Michigan
The area on which the modern city stands was once home to Native Americans of the Hopewell culture, who migrated into the area sometime before the first millennium. Evidence of their early residency remains in the form of a small mound in downtown's Bronson Park. The Hopewell civilization began to...

, Taste of Cincinnati
Taste of Cincinnati
Taste of Cincinnati is the longest running culinary arts festival in the United States. Starting in 1979, the festival has been held annually on Memorial Day weekend in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Approximately 500,000 people attend Taste of Cincinnati each year, making it one of the nation's...

, Taste of Addison, Taste of Denver, Taste in Dallas, Taste of Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison....

, Taste of Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, the Taste of Peoria in Peoria, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States. It is named after the Peoria tribe. As of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007, and is the third-most populated...

, and the Bite in Portland
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

to name a few.

External links

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