Pared-Down Taste Of Chicago Wraps Up

CHICAGO (CBS) — This year’s Taste of Chicago wrapped up Sunday evening and the Chicago Park District, which was running the scaled-down festival for the first time, described this year as a big success.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, despite budgetary pressures and their own attempts to somewhat alter the focus of the city’s annual food festival, Park District officials said turnout was moderate to high this year.

The city of Chicago gave up direct control of the Taste of Chicago this year due to financial pressures, handing the festival over to the Chicago Park District.

The district intentionally cut back on big name entertainment, focusing instead on local musicians, while returning the spotlight to Chicago restaurants and family fun.

Authorities have not yet revealed official turnout figures for this year’s Taste, only saying turnout has been moderate to high. But they don’t dispute the notion that the event has been less crowded than past years and have said the smaller crowds have been a good thing.

They’re also quite pleased that there have been no major issues with violence or public safety.

“It’s gone great. The police tell me this is one of the lowest incidents they’ve ever had,” said Park District Interim Supt. Michael Kelly. “Eleven days ago we were sitting and someone raised flash mobs. Now all we’re talking about is family-friendly, mission accomplished. This has been a great success for us and the Chicago Police Department.”

In 2008, four people were shot – and one of them died – while leaving the Taste of Chicago and the fireworks show, but nothing like that happened this year.

Of course, this year there is no July 3rd fireworks show, as it was cut due to the city’s budget problems. As to whether the July 3rd fireworks show will return next year, officials said that is up to one man: Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The mayor hasn’t made that decision yet.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • JOhn Major

    crime is on michigan with all the gangs

  • dj

    Taste of Park Ridge is Better !!

  • Martinez Dupaty

    Natalie Cole was Great !!!

  • JimBo

    Whoa! Way to get off topic.

    i bet the dissapointment factor was in the moderate to high range………
    embarassing to have no fireworks which were always funded by big business like Macy’s.
    Is our government to disconected or uncaring to look for corporate sponsors which shape both the image AND the economy of your city?
    Is it?
    Fireworks are essential and a tradition.
    R U communists?
    Sarah Palin is that you?

  • JimBo

    Get off me Sarah………

  • Larry

    The Taste is going to get smaller each year and die a slow death. I imagine the vendors cannot be very happy about missing the biggest day of the entire fest because the City is too scared to hold it as a result of the crime they refuse to admit is happening. Most people tend to ridicule the Taste over the last several years anyway. It’s basically for people from the burbs, the hood and from out of town.

  • Mayor Calls Taste ‘Safest In Recent Memory’ « CBS Chicago

    […] Park District Supt. Michael Kelly agreed that the Taste was a success from the public safety perspec… […]

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