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Inside Taste of Chicago 2019: The World’s Largest Food Festival

By Rachel George

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Taste of Chicago is one of the hottest food festivals in the world. Catered towards the city’s diverse community, there are over 300 food selections complemented by music and exciting activities for everyone to enjoy in Grant Park.  This year, the city brought back the popular Ferris Wheel, inflatables and other fun stuff for kids.

India Arie, Courtney Barnett from Australia, Colombian dance band Bomba Estéreo and New York’s Del La Soul are among the headliners for what’s set to be the biggest festival in Chicago this summer. This is India Arie’s third time performing at the annual festival. She’ll be joined by Bilal, newcomer Taylor Bennett, and other chart-topping international artists. Past performers include The Roots, The Isley Brothers, Erykah Badu, Trey Songz, Stevie Wonder, and more.

“Taste of Chicago is a summer staple and this year’s music lineup will be more vibrant and diverse than ever,” Mayor Emanuel said. “With our combination of local, national and international talent, Chicago’s incredible culinary and musical culture will be on full display in Grant Park, and promises to be our most successful season yet.”

Grant Park is the epicenter of culture in the community surrounded by Michigan Avenue, a shopping center, Cultural Center, Field Museum, the Art Institute, and an indoor aquarium which holds 32,000 animals.

In 1980, a group of local restaurant owners brought the idea of a food festival to the Mayor of Chicago. The initial festival took the city by storm, attracting over 250,000 people and racking up $330,000 in profits. To accommodate the large audience and include more restaurants, the Taste of Chicago moved to Grant Park a year later.

80 restaurants will participate in the festival, along with 24 pop-up booths and 17 food trucks, serving every style of food from pizza, tacos, and burgers to seafood, pan-Asian meals and a plethora of sweet options from Eli’s Cheesecake Company, the Cookie Crate, and more.

The Goose Island Stage will host five days of unmatched local talent like Queen Key, Street Bud, Multi-platinum recording artist Shawnna, and 16-year old rapper Nia Kay. She was first introduced to us through Season 2 of Jermaine Dupri’s hit television show The Rap Game on Lifetime TV. This will be Nia Kay’s first time performing at the festival in her hometown so you know it’s going to be crazy.

“I don’t want to talk about the violence and all of that going on in Chicago. I want to help change people’s mindsets. I want us all to come together and have peace,” she told Rolling Out.

The festival will also feature theatre performances, live dance sessions by professional instructors, and concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell. General admission seated tickets are $15, and $40 for premium seating.

Get a premier concert experience lunge style accompanied by food, a private cash bar at the Petrillo Music Shell from 3 PM to 9 PM. If you haven’t already, purchase your $50 tickets now, as they are limited. Food and beverage tickets can be purchased on site, $10 for 14 tickets.

Don’t forget to check out the daily silent disco party at Buckingham Fountain Plaza from 11 AM to 4 PM. For the full music lineup and list of restaurants, check here.

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Rachel George

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