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Shorter, Scaled-Back Taste Of Chicago To Return Next Year

Customers check out some of the vendors at the 2012 edition of the Taste of Chicago, which was shortened to five days and pushed back until after the July 4 holiday. (Credit: CBS)

Customers check out some of the vendors at the 2012 edition of the Taste of Chicago, which was shortened to five days and pushed back until after the July 4 holiday. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Taste of Chicago next year will be only five days, and will again feature reserved seats and specially-prepared food for an extra price, according to published reports.

The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times both reported that Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to hold a five-day Taste in Grant Park again next year.

The Sun-Times reports as was the case this year, the Taste will offer concert seats at the Petrillo Band Shell for $25, and specially-made sit-down meals by a chef du jour for $40.

But Mayor Emanuel does not know whether this year’s Taste broke even, according to the Tribune. The city is still waiting for final invoices, the newspaper reported.

The Emanuel administration cut the Taste in half from its traditional 10 days this year, and moved the festival from around the time of the July 4 holiday to mid-July.

For many years, the Taste of Chicago boasted big-name musical acts, as well as restaurants. But it lost some $7 million between 2008 and 2011.

Last year, attendance for the Taste was down 2.35 million compared with two years earlier. There were shorter hours and no big-name musical acts.

The onetime climax of the Taste, the July 3 Fireworks Extravaganza, was eliminated in 2010 in an effort to save money, and after a gun fight broke out as the crowd left the show two years before that. One man was killed in the 2008 incident.

The Chicago Park District handled the Taste of Chicago for the first and only time in 2011, amid calls to privatize the festival. But this year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events took over again.