Wednesday, January 5, 2011

bitter Taste

The City of Chicago plans to privatize The Taste of Chicago (a 10 day music and food festival on Chicago’s lakefront). That means that the 30-year-old FREE admission festival will now cost $20 to enter (or that is what one group is proposing). That sucks donkey balls, man.

My parents were always good about bringing us downtown from our suburban Dolton home; it was only a 30 minute trip downtown, so we did some cool things. I remember going to the Taste of Chicago when it was ChicagoFest. That was when ChicagoFest was on Navy Pier before it became the huge tourist attraction it is today (and ironically, where I work).

ChicagoFest on Navy Pier was amazing. We came to see the band Ambrosia, and ended up falling in love with the opening band, Pure Prairie League. My brother, Tiger, and I made some awesome macaroni art in the huge kid’s section. My dad bought me a gold bracelet at one of the booths. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, and I just remember the festival being huge with restaurants all over the place as well as shops all over the place. Every year, I got a pickle on a stick. My mom always got a frozen chocolate covered banana.

Another year (if I am remembering correctly), the music portion of the fest was held at Soldier Field, and we saw the band Alabama.

Tiger (my bro), my dad, Ron (my cousin), and me
For the last 12 years, I’ve lived walking distance to the Taste of Chicago. People may complain of the crowds and what a pain in the ass it is to get downtown, but I love the Taste of Chicago. Ignacio and I buy $100 worth of food and drink tickets on the first day, and then we walk to the Taste for dinner after work at least five other times. Every time we go, we get pierogis and Rainbow ice-cream, at least. On good days, we’ll add fried ravioli, beer battered artichokes, pizza, and whatever else we can find at one of the 70 food booths.

I can’t even name all the bands I’ve seen during the Taste of Chicago. The ones I can recall are: Los Lonely Boys, Sheryl Crow, Santana, Rob Thomas, Dennis DeYoung, and Stevie Wonder. Who knows how many others I can’t recall. But the point is that it is was perfect for me to walk to the band shelter and watch a different performer everyday…for free. Now, they want to charge $20! I’m sure I won’t be stopping by for dinner and a concert everyday anymore.

One of my best memories is when I walked to the Taste by myself to see the Indigo Girls. I got a spot on the lawn and prepared to enjoy the show. Nearby, a drunken girl threw up on the lawn, and her group hastily packed up their blanket and left. For the rest of the afternoon, I laughed every time someone walked through that puke. I laughed really loud if they slipped as they walked through it.

Now that, I probably would pay $20 to see.


  1. I use to work across the street and would head over there for lunch several days. It will suck if it does become a $20 admission.

  2. Geez, we really had some good times! Seen a lot & done a lot. We really did take advantage of all the City of Chicago has to offer. So many laughs & beers!

  3. They are crazy. We ate there all the time when it was free!

    My favorite memory was my first Taste trip, eating EVERY fried food that looked good. Had my very first bout of serious GI distress that night. It was baaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

  4. It sounds wonderful...I so hope they don't ruin it with a $20 cover.

    Your sense of humor is much like mine. The puke story is cracking me up.