Taste of Chicago

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Taste of Chicago
One of the entrances to the Taste of Chicago in 2013
GenreFood Festival
Location(s)Grant Park
Chicago, Illinois
CountryUnited States
Years active1980–2019, 2022–present
PeopleArnie Morton
Jane Byrne
Lois Weisberg

The Taste of Chicago (also known locally as The Taste) is the world's largest food festival[citation needed], held in September in Chicago, Illinois in Grant Park. The event is also the largest festival in Chicago.[1] Non-food-related events include live music on multiple stages, including the Petrillo Music Shell, pavilions, and performances. Musical acts vary from nationally known artists like Carlos Santana, Moby, Kenny Rogers, or Robert Plant to name just a few, to local artists. Since 2008, The Chicago Country Music Festival was held simultaneously with the Taste of Chicago but now has its own two-day festival, typically held in the fall.[2] The Taste of Chicago also has rides present which may include a Ferris wheel and the Jump to Be Fit among others.


Large crowds at the Taste of Chicago in 2011

Arnie Morton, creator of the Taste, decided to line up Chicago restaurants to participate and persuaded then-Chicago mayor Jane Byrne and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg to block off Michigan Avenue for the first Taste of Chicago on July 4, 1980. Although organizers expected 100,000 people, a crowd of over 250,000 showed up, with food and soda sales grossing $300,000 at the festival's 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, started by mayor Michael Bilandic, was the precursor to the Taste of Chicago. After Bilandic's tenure in office, newly elected Mayor Jane Byrne 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, 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 to Soldier Field and attendance continued to wane. The popularity of the Taste of Chicago has prompted other cities to spawn numerous offshoots and equivalents throughout North America such as the Taste of Champaign, CityFest in Detroit, the Taste of the Danforth in Toronto, the Taste of Kalamazoo, Taste of Addison, Taste of Denver, Taste in Dallas, Taste of Madison, Taste of Austin, the Taste of Peoria in Peoria, Illinois, and the Bite in Portland to name a few. The first "taste of" festival was Taste of Cincinnati in 1979.[3]

In 2005, the Taste attracted about 3.9 million people with over 70 food vendors. Foods at the event include Chicago-style pizza, Chicago hot dogs, barbecued ribs, Italian Beef, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, Eli's Cheesecake, and a variety of ethnic and regional foods. A 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.[4] These lackluster statistics prompted several changes. The mayor transferred power over the event from the Chicago Park District to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the event was shortened to 5 days. In 2012, the Taste of Chicago ran from July 11 to July 15[5] and had 36 participating restaurants.[6] In 2013, the Taste of Chicago turned a profit for the first time in six years with sales totaling $272,000.[7] On Saturday, July 12, 2014, the Taste of Chicago closed because of severe weather—the first time the festival was canceled for the entire day because of "excessive rainfall and flooding on the festival grounds".

In June 2020, the event was one of several Chicago events officially cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic;[8] it was replaced by "Taste of Chicago To-Go" programming that included an online directory of vendors, video cooking demonstrations and performances, a food truck procession, and an expansion of the existing Community Eats program that brings free meals to first responders.[9][10]

2007 salmonella outbreak[edit]

On July 12, 2007, city officials reported that an outbreak beginning in the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth caused 17 people to fall ill due to Salmonella poisoning. Of those affected, three were hospitalized, including one minor. City officials started to receive reports of sickness on Monday but waited to issue a notice until Wednesday. The notice warned the public about symptoms and causes behind the bacteria that is spread by consuming foods contaminated with animal feces. After a thorough investigation of the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth, it was determined that the cucumber, hummus, and pomegranate chicken were the source of the illness. The booth failed a previous routine inspection for serving undercooked dishes but city officials did not file the report until Wednesday. City health inspectors found several violations at the restaurant including unsanitary conditions, improper refrigeration, and mouse droppings.[11]

List of musical performers[edit]

The festival hosts a wide variety of performers.

6/28/1987 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/29/1987 Albertina Walker
6/30/1987 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/1/1987 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/2/1987 South of the Border Celebration
7/3/1987 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/5/1987 Chicago and Buckinghams
7/1/1988 Restless Heart
7/2/1988 Folk Fest
7/3/1988 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1988 Robert Cray Band
7/5/1988 Mongo Santa Maria
7/6/1988 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/7/1988 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/8/1988 Dell Shannon and the Chiffons
7/9/1988 Stevie Wonder
7/10/1988 Maria Conchita Alonso
6/28/1989 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/29/1989 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/30/1989 Tom James
7/1/1989 Folk Fest
7/2/1989 Roberta Flack
7/3/1989 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1989 BoDeans
6/27/1990 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/28/1990 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/29/1990 George Benson
6/30/1990 Spinners and Nylons
7/1/1990 Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello
7/2/1990 Emmylou Harris
7/3/1990 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1990 Smithereens, Los Lobos, and Kinsey Report
6/27/1991 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/28/1991 Tommy James
6/29/1991 Larry Carlton
6/30/1991 Temptations
7/3/1991 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1991 Replacements, NRBQ, and Material Issue
6/27/1992 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/28/1992 Neville Brothers
6/29/1992 Koko Taylor
6/30/1992 Gary Lewis
7/1/1992 Hal Ketchum 
7/3/1992 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1992 Robert Cray
7/5/1992 Lee Rittenour
6/25/1993 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
6/26/1993 John Hiatt, Sonny Landreth and Wailing Souls
6/27/1993 Grover Washington, Tower of Power and Peter White
6/29/1993 The Band, Eric Burdon and the Brian Auger Band, Spirit and John Sebastian
6/30/1993 Kool & the Gang, Ohio Players and War
7/1/1993 Emmylou Harris, Joe Diffie and the Mavericks
7/2/1993 Dwight Yoakam and Suzy Boggess
7/3/1993 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1993 Matt Sweet, Belly and The Jayhawks
7/2/1994 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/3/1994 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1994 Squeeze, Poi Dog Pondering and Lemonheads
7/5/1994 Barry White
7/6/1994 The Band, Roger McGinnis and Jesse Colin Young
7/7/1994 Subdudes, Buckwheat Zydeco and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
7/8/1994 Santana and Jr. Wells
7/9/1994 Ricky VanShelton, Michelle Wright and Rick Trevino
7/10/1994 Bill Monroe
6/24/1995 Trish Yearwood and Junior Brown
6/25/1995 Diamond Rio and George Ducas
6/27/1995 Poi Dog Pondering
6/28/1995 Badfinger, Foghat and Edgar Winter
6/29/1995 Village People, KC & the Sunshine Band
6/30/1995 George Clinton
7/1/1995 Tom Jones and 911 Mambo 
7/2/1995 Gin Blossoms and Alanis Morissette
7/3/1995 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1995 Freddy Jones Band and General Public
6/28/1996 Hank Williams Jr. and Wade Hayes
6/29/1996 Tracy Lawrence & Patty Loveless, Keith Gattis
6/30/1996 Bobby Caldwell
7/2/1996 3 Dog Night, Randy Bachman and Rare Earth
7/3/1996 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1996 Del Amitri, Dishwala, Paul Westerberg and Wilco
7/5/1996 James Brown
7/6/1996 Harry Connick, Larry Miller and Joe Sample
7/7/1996 GooGoo Dolls
6/27/1997 Bryan White and Marty Stewart
6/28/1997 Wynonna Judd and Paul Brandt
6/29/1997 Gladys Knight
6/30/1997 City Lights Orchestra
7/1/1997 Little Feat and Soniya Dada
7/2/1997 Kool & the Gang and Ohio Players 
7/3/1997 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1997 Big Head Todd 
7/5/1997 James Taylor
7/6/1997 Cheap Trick and Jayhawks
6/25/1998 Phil Collins
6/26/1998 Suzy Boggess, John Anderson and Billy Dean
6/27/1998 Faith Hill and Restless Heart
6/28/1998 Smokey Robinson and Lonnie Brooks
6/29/1998 City Lights Orchestra
6/30/1998 Joe Walsh
7/1/1998 Chaka Khan
7/2/1998 Doobie Brothers
7/3/1998 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1998 BoDeans
7/5/1998 Kenny Loggins and Kathleen Wilhoite
6/25/1999 Earth Wind & Fire and Soul Children
6/26/1999 George Jones and Susan Ashton
6/27/1999 Dwight Yoakam and Deana Carter 
6/28/1999 Emeril Lagasse
6/29/1999 Chicago
6/30/1999 Isley Brothers
7/1/1999 Peter Frampton and Joan Jett
7/2/1999 REO Speedwagon and Foreigner
7/3/1999 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/1999 Cheap Trick
7/5/1999 Brian Setzer and BR549
6/30/2000 Patti LaBelle
7/1/2000 Randy Travis and Montgomery Gentry
7/2/2000 Travis Tritt and Ty Herndon
7/3/2000 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2000 Cracker
7/5/2000 Pointer Sisters
7/6/2000 Matt Sweet
7/7/2000 Al Green
7/8/2000 Yes and Kansas
7/9/2000 Michael McDonald
6/29/2001 George Clinton
6/30/2001 Waylon Jennings and Asleep at the Wheel
7/1/2001 Leanne Womack and Jessica Andrews
7/2/2001 Wayne Newton
7/3/2001 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2001 Wilco
7/5/2001 Walk Down Abbey Road
7/6/2001 Whispers
7/7/2001 Go-Go's, Marcy Playground
7/8/2001 KC Sunshine Band
6/28/2002 Brian McKnight
6/29/2002 Vince Gill and Joanna Janet
6/30/2002 Charlie Daniels and Keith Urban
7/1/2002 4 Tops and O’Jay's
7/2/2002 Broadway in Chicago
7/3/2002 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2002 Indigo Girls and Midnight Oil
7/5/2002 Foreigner and Survivor
7/6/2002 Walk Down Abbey Road 
7/7/2002 Hootie and the Blowfish
6/27/2003 Erykah Badu
6/28/2003 Loretta Lynn and Steve Azar
6/29/2003 John Michael Montgomery, Deana Carter and Jimmy Wayne
6/30/2003 Kenny Rogers
7/1/2003 Broadway in Chicago
7/2/2003 India.Arie
7/3/2003 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2003 Wallflowers and Guster
7/5/2003 Sheryl Crow
7/6/2003 Elvis Costello and Alice Peacock
6/25/2004 Teena Marie and Maurice Mahon
6/26/2004 Wynonna Judd and Rodney Crowell
6/27/2004 Brad Paisley and Kellie Coffey
6/28/2004 Great Lakes Naval Band
6/29/2004 New Edition
6/30/2004 Stephanie Mills and KEM
7/1/2004 Melissa Etheridge
7/2/2004 Pat Benatar and Peter Frampton
7/3/2004 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2004 Counting Crows, They Might Be Giants and Old 97's
6/24/2005 LL Cool J and Faith Evans
6/25/2005 LeAnn Rimes and Julie Roberts
6/26/2005 Clint Black and Aaron Tippen
6/27/2005 Broadway in Chicago
6/28/2005 Donna Summer
6/29/2005 Gap Band, Morris Day & the Time
6/30/2005 Lynyrd Skynyrd and Credence Clearwater
7/1/2005 Steve Winwood and Dr. John
7/2/2005 Santana, Los Lonely Boys and Salvador Santana Band
7/3/2005 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2005 Moby and John Hiatt
6/30/2006 The O’Jay's
7/1/2006 Glen Campbell, Yonder Mountain String Band and Phil Vassar
7/2/2006 Jo Dee Messina and SheDaisy
7/3/2006 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2006 Ray Davies, My Morning Jacket and Mike Doughty
7/5/2006 India.Arie and Anthony Hamilton
7/6/2006 Train and Matt Kearney
7/7/2006 Macy Gray and Liquid Soul
7/8/2006 Liz Phair and Fountains of Wayne
7/9/2006 Dennis DeYoung and Kenny Wayne Shepherd
6/29/2007 Frankie Beverly and Maze
6/30/2007 Kenny Rogers
7/1/2007 Sara Evans and Craig Morgan
7/2/2007 Broadway in Chicago
7/3/2007 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2007 John Mayer
7/5/2007 Lyfe Jennings
7/6/2007 The Black Crowes and Umphreys McGee
7/7/2007 Cheap Trick, Soul Asylum and Cracker
7/8/2007 Los Lonely Boys and Brandi Carlile
6/27/2008 Chaka Khan and Angie Stone
6/28/2008 Stevie Wonder
6/29/2008 Plain White T's and Josh Kelly
6/30/2008 Broadway in Chicago
7/1/2008 Joss Stone and Ryan Shaw
7/2/2008 Fantasia and Estelle
7/3/2008 Grant Park Symphony Orchestra
7/4/2008 Gomez, Old 97's and Alejandro Escovedo
7/5/2008 Bonnie Raitt
7/6/2008 Aly & AJ and Keke Palmer
6/26/2009 Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band, Cameo
6/27/2009 Counting Crows and Augustana
6/28/2009 The Wallflowers and Lovehammers
6/29/2009 Broadway in Chicago
6/30/2009 Barenaked Ladies
7/1/2009 Ne-Yo and Keri Hilson
7/2/2009 Super Diamond and Afrodisiacs
7/3/2009 85th Army Band and Fireworks Spectacular
7/4/2009 Buddy Guy, Buster and DBT's
7/5/2009 Mitchell Musso and Jordan Pruitt
6/25/2010 Bell Biv Devoe, Slick Rick and Salt-n-Peppa 
6/26/2010 Gavin Rossdale and Band from TV
6/27/2010 Emily Osment and Allstar Weekend
6/28/2010 Broadway in Chicago
6/29/2010 Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys
6/30/2010 Mat Kearney and Brett Dennen
7/1/2010 Trey Songz and Teairra Marí
7/2/2010 Rob Thomas
7/3/2010 Steve Miller Band
7/4/2010 Passion Pit, Robert Randolph, Alejandro Escovedo and Carney
6/24/2011 Los Horoscopos de Durango 
6/25/2011 Rare Earth and Soul Asylum
6/26/2011 Donald Lawrence & Company
6/27/2011 Broadway in Chicago
6/28/2011 Material Re-Issue and The Lemonheads
6/29/2011 Natalie MacMaster
6/30/2011 Natalie Cole
7/1/2011 Courtyard Hounds and Loretta Lynn
7/2/2011 Everest and Jayhawks
7/3/2011 Greyson Chance
7/11/2012 Jennifer Hudson and Luke James
7/12/2012 Death Cab for Cutie and Calexico
7/13/2012 Michael Franti & Spearhead and Fitz & the Tantrums
7/14/2012 Chaka Khan and Raphael Saadiq
7/15/2012 Dierks Bentley and Lindi Ortega
7/10/2013 Fun. and Delta Spirit
7/11/2013 Robin Thicke and Estelle
7/12/2013 Robert Plant Presents the Sensational Space Shifters
7/13/2013 Jill Scott
7/14/2013 Neon Trees and The Mowgli's
7/10/2014 Janelle Monáe and Gary Clark Jr.
7/11/2014 Nickel Creek and Emmylou Harris
7/12/2014 Jeff Tweedy
7/13/2014 Aloe Blacc and The Wailers
7/8/2015 Weezer
7/9/2015 Erykah Badu
7/10/2015 The Chieftains
7/11/2015 Spoon
7/12/2015 Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
7/6/2016 The Roots and Donnie Trumpet
7/7/2016 Kongos, Elle King and Transviolet
7/8/2016 The Decemberists and Shakey Graves
7/9/2016 Billy Idol and Sons of the Silent Age
7/10/2016 The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley, and Shelia E.
7/5/2017 Alessia Cara and Eryn Allen Kane
7/6/2017 Café Tacvba and ¡Esso! Afrojam Funkbeat with Los Vicios de Papá 
7/7/2017 Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals and Twin Peaks
7/8/2017 Passion Pit and The Kickback
7/9/2017 The O’Jays and Maurice Jackson's Independents
7/11/2018 Brandi Carlile
7/12/2018 Juanes
7/13/2018 Black Star
7/14/2018 The Flaming Lips
7/15/2018 Parliament Funkadelic
7/10/2019 Courtney Barnett
7/11/2019 Bomba Estéreo and Puerto Rican Cultura Profética
7/12/2019 De La Soul
7/13/2019 The Strumbellas and lovelytheband
7/14/2019 India.Arie and Meshell Ndegeocello
2020 Canceled
2021 Canceled
7/8/2022 Nelly
7/9/2022 Aterciopelados
7/10/2022 Drive-By Truckers and Local H
9/8/2023 Hip Hop 50 featuring Doug E. Fresh, EPMD, KRS-One and Slick Rick
9/9/2023 Proyecto Uno
9/10/2023 Whitney


  1. ^ "Chicago's Largest Festivals". ChicagoBusiness. Crain Communications, Inc. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
  2. ^ "Taste of Chicago's Country". CountryMusicChicago.com. Country Music Chicago Magazine. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-07-09.
  3. ^ "About Taste - Taste of Cincinnati". Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  4. ^ "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago Sun-Times.
  5. ^ "Chicago - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago Sun-Times.
  6. ^ "Taste of Chicago 2012 Restaurants". Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
  7. ^ Spielman, Fran (2013-09-28). "Taste of Chicago turned 1st profit in six years". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
  8. ^ "Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, other summer festivals canceled by city". Chicago Tribune. June 9, 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Taste of Chicago To-Go details announced — a much more modest Taste". Chicago Tribune. July 1, 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  10. ^ "'Taste Of Chicago To Go' Kicks Off Wednesday". CBS 2 Chicago. July 8, 2020. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  11. ^ Graves Fitzsimmons, Emma; Robert Mitchum (July 12, 2007). "Salmonella outbreak traced to Taste booth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 August 2015.

External links[edit]