Daley Insists Taste Of Chicago Will Remain Free

CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) — Mayor Richard M. Daley has said admission to the Taste of Chicago will remain free, but new information shows that may not necessarily end up being the case.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, the sole company that has bid in the privatization of the Taste of Chicago and other lakefront festivals is proposing a $10 admission fee.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

The Chicago Sun-Times, quoting city hall sources, reports the lame duck Daley administration is not focused on the privatization, and the bidder is getting anxious as it will become tougher to book top talent the longer the process takes.

Mayor Daley has defended taking the festivals private, saying despite the $7 million budget gap, admission to the Taste would always remain free. He says to make up for the shortfall, the selection committee would revise the food.

Celebrate Chicago LLC, the private group that has bid on the Taste, initially proposed charging $20 for admission, but returning half the charge in food and drink tickets. The other $10 would help pay for bigger-name entertainment, but there would be a second price to see that entertainment.

The firm later said it would cut the proposed admission fee to $10.

The admission fee would apply during weekends, holidays and after 4 p.m. on weekdays.

The concert tickets would cost $25 to $65, but the $20 Taste admission fee would be waived for those who bought concert tickets.

City Special Events first deputy director David Kennedy would not say whether the new bid with the lower admission fee would be acceptable to City Hall. He also would not say when the city would decide whether to go ahead with privatizing its festivals, the Sun-Times reported.

Celebrate Chicago LLC is a joint venture between the Illinois Restaurant Association, JAM Productions, and AEG Live. The firm has also bid for Viva Chicago, and the Blues, Jazz, Celtic, Country and Gospel festivals.

Taste of Chicago has been costing the city millions over the last three years.

  • Lisa

    I think a fee would keep a lot of the beggars and low lifes out. Summerfest in Milwaukee is so much nicer because they charge admission. Of course they would have to rope off the entire festival, but it would be worth it. Mayor Daley always thinks he doing the best things fo rthe people, but as usual he has no clue!

  • ron

    That’s why a fee is necessary! A $10 dollar fee would definitely keep most if not all the ghetto folks who come just to walk around, enjoy free shows and start trouble. Besides, the city doesn’t have the money to keep giving away everything for free. Everyone needs to chip in.

    • sam

      I agree all those ghetto folks from wicker park and the south and west loop, I wish they would go back to their own places.

  • Priceless

    I got tired of seeing all of those druken red necks.

  • Dennis Fritz

    Taste of Chicago is a PUBLIC festival, which means everyone is invited. A fee is just a ploy to exclude poorer people from participating. We have enough yuppies-only events in this city already!

    • Charlie

      Very true Dennis! Too many excluding yuppie events in the area already!


    True those red necks getting white boy wasted wuz driving me cwazy! Thanks MAYOR!

  • 73444


    • 73444 idiot

      The real moron is the idiot who types in all caps.

  • Karen

    This will turn into another parking meters leasing debacle. Imposing an admission fee would be inevitable with privatization in order for the event to be profitable and exist in the future. Chicago will miss yet another revenue opportunity because City Hall lacks the guts to make a politically unpopular move.

  • http://topsy.com/chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/01/28/daley-insists-taste-of-chicago-will-remain-free/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2 Tweets that mention Daley Insists Taste Of Chicago Will Remain Free « CBS Chicago -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CBS 2 Chicago, WBBM Newsradio 780, Greg Divers,  Bri Nicole , Chase Ave and others. Chase Ave said: RT @CityofChicago: Daley says that admission to Taste of Chicago will remain free. http://ow.ly/3M7sX […]

  • Magic13

    With selling off the Taste of Chicago, what would it give the city of Chicago, nothing? The city will still be out of millions they have to still pay for the cop’s overtime, and also have to pay for the clean up after each day. Do you really think the private company is going to pay for that no. Now if the city do the private company the way they did Oprah and make them pay for everything I would be cool with paying a fee. The fee should only be after 5pm and on weekends; I don’t think they should charge for holidays.

  • Jackie

    Even though the $10 would thin out the crowd I don’t think this would be wise to those who can barely afford the food. Families may not be able to attend. There is nothing wrong with people going to the Taste just for the entertainment or just to be out and about. They shouldn’t have to charge. The taste is for everyone in the city not just for people who have the funds and it should stay that way.
    I don’t like the heat, drunks and the loud rowdy people so last year was my last time going. But charging is unfair, people look forward to this festival.

  • Clarence

    Wake up people! They’ve got yuppies busy arguing with the ghetto so they can rob you! Daley sold the meters to his brother for 20% of what they’re worth, his brother got over 8 million dollars as a bonus from JP Morgan TAX-FREE for that! And now they’re gonna do it again with Rohm. Not just Taste, but all the festivals are being sold and soon the water bills! I’m not a Taste goer, but I know when the future of my city is at stake. How have selling the meters and the Skyway worked for YOU so far?

  • krissy

    NOTHING IS FREE IN CHICAGO…..everything is going up..even the bribes!!

  • Ce Rod

    The Taste of chicago was founded to give all chicagoins a chance to taste the best food in the world at no charge and soom entertainment, to even think of charging the people of chicago would undermind the true purpose of the event. İ go back to the best CİTYin the world every summer to attend the tastewith my family; those of you that think a charge is needed are not true CHİCAGOİNS or are from the Berbs witch is NOT the CİTY and yous neeed to go to great america and stay out of the city becouse we chitowners LOVE ALL CHİCAGOİNS! money or no money north south east or west. see u this summer

  • bob

    I’ll pay a fee, if reasonable, to keep the morons and low lifes out. Haven’t gone in years cause of all the trouble with fights, shootings=gang bangers. If the Taste wants these people, they don’t need me. I’ll spend my $$ elsewhere.

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