The results are in, and the numbers for Taste of Chicago aren't looking good; the final tally of 2.35 million visitors for the week-long festival is an 11 percent drop compared to last year, and the lowest overall since 1986. Some vendors blamed the lack of big name bands, fireworks, and predictions of bad weather. Chicago Magazine even tied the dip to the sluggish Restaurant Performance Index. Though Mayor Emanuel commended the 50 percent drop in crime, he promised to ask some "core questions" about the festival to see how it could be improved. But here's our question: do we really want a stupendously busy Taste of Chicago?
Sure, we'd like the city and the vendors to make money, but we can't be the only ones who found it nice to be able to walk around the booths and not run into a hundred sweaty bodies. Isn't it better to look for a balance of festival enjoyment and crowd size? We certainly managed to find some positive aspects of the festival this year, and don't particularly think that an additional million people would have made it more fun. But that's just us.
Taste of Chicago attendance slips 11% [Crain's]
Taste of Chicago Attendance Drop: People Don't Want to Spend Money Right Now [Chicago Magazine]
Taste attendance drops to 25-year low [Chicago Tribune]