Taste of Chicago

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

There are people everywhere.  The scene is busy, yet no one is doing anything.  Everyone just seems to be milling around exchanging tickets for food.  The smells of various foods seem to dance just under your nose.  Welcome to the Taste of Chicago.

In addition to being able to sample various culinary offerings from all across Chicago, the Taste is another free music event offered by the city.  The bill for this night was the patriotic orchestral sounds of the Grant Park Orchestra as well as a 20 minute firework display.  The music and fireworks were free, but the food was not...unless you brought your own items or were lucky enough to find someone to share with you. 

The vendor system for pretty much all of the "free" events in Chicago follow along to the same tune.  First, find a ticket booth...and exchange your hard cash for tickets.  The exchange is something like 7 dollars for 11 tickets.  From there you can peruse the many different vendors that line both sides of the streets that cut through Grant Park.  All the vendors offer a 3 ticket "taste" portion.  It is exactly as it sounds...it is a small portion of food that gives you a sample of what the vendor is offering.  The portions are not big, but a good way to try many different offerings.  Most vendors will offer regular sized dishes for more tickets.  I like the whole ticket trick...it makes it feel like you are paying for food with monopoly money...most likely the intent of the whole "ticket" system.

After wadding through the food area...I made my way over to find the group of people I was there to meet up with.  I spotted the canopy across the lawn very easily and sat down to talk, eat, and drink with friends until the music and fireworks started.  Once the sun went down, the Orchestra came on stage played a few different compositions as the sky slowly grew darker.  The firework display was the next highlight of the night...accompanied by the orchestra.  All in all it was a pretty good night.
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