Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Offers 10 Can’t-Miss Activations at 2023 Edition of Taste of Chicago, Taking Place Friday – Sunday, September 8 – 10 in Grant Park
Matthew Bryant, Carol Fox & Associates email@example.com
DCASE Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO – Taste of Chicago, a Chicago tradition showcasing the diversity and world-class talent of Chicago’s culinary scene since 1980, returns to its iconic Grant Park location near Buckingham Fountain Friday – Sunday, September 8–10 from 11am to 9pm. As culinary enthusiasts from across the city and around the world gather in Grant Park to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer, Mayor Brandon Johnson and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will also offer a wide variety of onsite events and activations for guests of all ages to complement more than 35 food vendors, 15 food trucks and a robust slate of world-class musical performances. As always, admission to Taste of Chicago is free.
1) Chicago Sings Karaoke at the Taste of Chicago: Hosted by the People’s Stage Karaoke at the Chicago Sings Karaoke Stage, singers of all ages and skill levels can participate and adults can compete for the championship starting at 11am on Friday, Sept. 8. Youth participants ages 17 and under will be able to sing from 11am-12:30pm on Saturday and Sunday while adults will have an opportunity on each of the three days to take home the crown and a $500 grand prize. Registration is now open at ChicagoSingsKaraoke.com.
2) Lifeway Foods Family Village: Throughout the weekend, Lifeway Foods Family Village will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy kid-friendly fun right on the Taste of Chicago festival grounds. Designed for families with children of all ages, the Village will include kid-favorite inflatables, a digital photo station and interactive art activities including a coloring station, interactive mural installation and a placemat making station. Art activities at Lifeway Foods Family Village are provided by Somos Arte, a nonprofit arts organization that celebrates the power of community through art and education. Visitors can also take advantage of free samples of Lifeway Kefir, while supplies last.
3) Adult Beverage Stations: Enhanced for 2023, the Adult Beverage Stations will include a designated beer hall, a wine garden with a wide range of varietals and cocktail lounge stations offering a variety of selections including a new frozen beverage station featuring Vodka Strawberry Lemonade and Windy City Punch slushie cocktails. Additional cocktail offerings will include Arnie’s Raspberry Kiss featuring vodka, sweet tea, raspberry and lemon; Cucumber Jalapeño Cooler featuring tequila, cucumber, jalapeño, citrus and lime; Windy City Punch featuring rum, tropical fruits, pineapple and orange; and a Melon Malört-garita, a show-stopping cocktail featuring Chicago’s favorite spirit plus watermelon, citrus and orange. No matter the weather, guests are sure to find the perfect pairing for their favorite Taste of Chicago vendor offerings.
4) Throwback Quad: In a nod to Taste of Chicago tradition, the festival will celebrate longtime food vendors Eli’s Cheesecake, Lou Malnati’s, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs and BJ’s Market by featuring them in a classic Quad on Columbus Drive in the heart of this year’s festival layout.
5) Chicago SummerDance: The fan-favorite annual outdoor live music and dancing series, Chicago SummerDance turns Buckingham Fountain Plaza into a dance party with free dance lessons and music all weekend at the Taste of Chicago. A celebration of dance in all its forms, SummerDance at Taste of Chicago will give guests the opportunity to learn and dance along to dance styles including Reggaeton, Country Two-Step, Bollywood, Salsa and much more. Details
6) Made in Chicago: Food Trivia at Taste of Chicago: Food history enthusiasts will have the opportunity to show off their Chicago food knowledge when Monica Eng and David Hammond, coauthors of Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites (2023) and Jacoby Cochran, host of the City Cast Chicago podcast, host Made in Chicago: Food Trivia at Taste of Chicago. Taking place on the Chicago Sings Karaoke Stage from 4 to 5pm Friday – Sunday, the program will center on the people and places behind 15 iconic Chicago bites. Friday’s program will be hosted by Hammond and Cochran, Saturday’s program will be hosted by Eng and Cochran and Sunday’s program will be hosted by Eng and Hammond. Eng and Hammond's book will be available for purchase onsite, and they will be on hand to sign copies for a limited time following their respective programs.
7) Friday Night Flights: Serving as the perfect pairing for Taste of Chicago’s culinary offerings, Choose Chicago will host the popular Friday Night Flights tasting event from 4 to 9pm on Friday, September 8. Taste guests will have the opportunity to choose 10 sample size portions from 25 local breweries. Tickets for Friday Night Flights are available for $25 in advance or $30 onsite while supplies last. Participating breweries include Adams Street Brewery, Alarmist Brewing, Around the Bend Beer Company, Begyle Brewing, Burning Bush Brewery, Casa Humilde Cervecería, Cruz Blanca Brewery, DryHop, Corridor, Crushed By Giants, Duneyrr Fermenta Winery and Brewery, Dutchbag Brew Co., ERIS Brewery and Cider House, Funkytown Brewery, Goose Island Beer Co., Haymarket Beer Company, Illuminated Brew Works, Lake Effect Brewing, Maplewood Brewing Company, Moderne Dune, Moor’s Brewing Company, Old Irving Brewing Co., Pipeworks Brewing Co., Ravinia Brewing, Revolution Brewing, Turner Häus Brewery and Twisted Hippo. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to purchase alcohol in the State of Illinois, and a valid ID is required.
8) DJ Casper Tribute: On Friday, September 8, Taste of Chicago and V103 will remember and honor legendary Chicagoan and hometown hero DJ Casper, creator of the world-famous “Cha Cha Slide,” who passed away in early August. Taking place on the Taste Main Stage at 5:55pm, the tribute will culminate in a festival-wide rendition of the iconic “Cha Cha Slide,” with all attendees invited to join.
9) Run Mag Mile: Giving guests the opportunity to explore Chicago like never before, Run Mag Mile will shut down the Magnificent Mile on Saturday, September 9. Stepping off from inside Taste of Chicago at 7 a.m., participants can choose from a 5K or 10K run, earn exclusive swag and celebrate at the after-party in conjunction with Taste of Chicago. Runners can stick around after the finish line to enjoy an exclusive post-race brunch at Taste of Chicago featuring beverages from Goose Island, live music from Maggie Speaks Unplugged and early access to select Taste of Chicago booths. For more information and registration, please visit www.runmagmile.com.
10) Eli’s Cheesecake Birthday Celebration: Taking place on Saturday, September 9, Eli’s Cheesecake will host their annual Eli’s Cheesecake Birthday Celebration on the SummerDance Stage, continuing a longstanding Taste of Chicago tradition. Beginning at 11am with a performance by The Happiness Club, Chicago’s favorite hip-hop kids, the morning will also feature performances by The Hiplet Ballerinas at 11:30am and the Jesse White Tumblers at noon, culminating in the arrival and cutting of the 1,000-pound Eli’s Cheesecake at 12:30pm. Attendees will receive a free piece of cake following the ceremony, while supplies last.
Food vendors for Taste of Chicago 2023 include Cumin Club Indian Kitchen, Sapori Trattoria, Arun’s Thai Restaurant, The Original Rainbow Cone, Healthy Substance Kitchen, LC Pho Restaurant, Yum Dum, Churro Factory (Xurro), African Food Palace, Porkchop, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Esperanza, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, Classic Cobbler Baked Goods Company, Tacotlan, JJ Thai Street Food, Doom Street Eats, Badou Senegalese Cuisine, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Billy Goat Tavern, Chicago Eats, Gaby’s Funnel Cakes, Frannie’s Café, Prime Tacos, The Sole Ingredient Catering, BJ’s Market & Bakery, Connie’s Pizza, Seoul Taco Chicago, Chicago’s Doghouse, Tandoor Char House, Pies of London, Banato, Mr. E Chef Catering, Josephine’s Cooking, Yvolina’s Tamales and a wide variety of food trucks.
Live entertainment for the 2023 edition of Taste of Chicago include headline performances on the Taste Main Stage by Masters of the Mic: Hip Hop 50 celebrating 50 years of the iconic genre with its pioneering artists including Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, EPMD and KRS-One (Sept. 8); celebrated GRAMMY© nominated singer-songwriter Lupita Infante supported by the all-female, Chicago-based Mariachi group Mariachi Sirenas (Sept. 9); trailblazing Dominican-American hip-hop group Proyecto Uno (Sept. 9); and Chicago-based indie band Whitney (Sept. 10).
In addition, the Goose Island Stage presented by the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) will feature Chicago’s scene of rising stars including KAINA, DJ Simmy, Rich Robbins, Rae Chardonnay, Bianca Shaw, DJ Lena Bandz and more.
Taste of Chicago 2023 is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in coordination with the Illinois Restaurant Association, which manages food operations, and Ravenswood Special Events and Bonded Beverage, who manage beverage operations. The festival is sponsored in part by Lifeway Foods, Pepsi, Eli’s Cheesecake, Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Lottery, WGN-TV, Millennium Garages, NBC 5, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism.
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Illinois Restaurant Association
Founded in 1914, the Illinois Restaurant Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, educating and improving the restaurant industry in Illinois. The Association manages the food and beverage portion of Taste of Chicago for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. For more information, visit www.illinoisrestaurants.org and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city—to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city—serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.