Can’t You Just Taste a Great Weekend Ahead?

July 13, 2012

One of the world’s largest outdoor food fests is going on right now in Chicago.

The Taste of Chicago first premiered on the Fourth of July in 1980. This year, it returned to Grant Park with quite a few changes.

Less days: No more 4th of July week; the Taste runs July 11-15 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Normally a 10-day affair, this year’s five-day festival is the smallest since 1985 when it went seven days.

Less booths: There will be a mere 36 this year; last year there were 59.

New feature: This year’s Taste features 15 Pop-Up Booths, in which three first-time Taste vendors will set up shop each day for one day.

New charges: To sit in a seat in the Petrillo Music Shell and enjoy live music, you are going to have to dish up $25 this year.

But you can still sit on the lawn for free. Entry into the Taste of Chicago is also free; tickets for food are $8 for a strip of 12, and most booths offer small portion sizes to try for one to five tickets.

Find out more information at explorechicago.org.

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Want to burn off some of the calories you put on at the Taste and help the fight to end homelessness at the same time?

Join in the 2nd Annual RUN! to End Homelessness in Chicago’s Douglas Park, 2800 W. Roosevelt, on Sunday, July 15 at 8 a.m.

The race raises funds for A Safe Haven, a local agency that helps transform lives from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Save money and register in advance for the race, which will include a free Kids Dash for those 10 and under.

The run will be followed by a Live Aid concert. For more information on the day and to register, visit runtoendhomelessness.org.

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You can also enjoy walkable Chicago at the Dearborn Garden Walk on Sunday, July 15 from noon to 5 p.m. beginning at The Latin Middle School, 45 W. North Blvd.

This 54th annual event includes a narrated architectural walking tour of historic Dearborn Street and a look at more than 20 distinctive backyard gardens in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Some gardens will even feature live jazz and classical performances.

Tickets can be purchased for $30 by noon on Saturday, July 14, otherwise admission is $35 at the gate.

For more information, visit dearborngardenwalk.com.

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Here are some more events you can walk around and enjoy this summer weekend.

Northbrook Fine Arts Festival: More than 70 artists from across the country will display their work in the shady grove at the Village Green, at Shermer and Meadow Roads in Northbrook, on Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be live music, demonstrations and other special features.

Des Plaines Summer Fling: There will be arts and crafts vendors, live music including David Cassidy, carnival rides and more on Friday, July 13, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, July 14-15, noon to 11 p.m. at River Road and Lee Street in Des Plaines.

Chinatown Summer Fair: This annual celebration of the Far East will include cultural food, art, music and dance on Sunday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wentworth Avenue, from Cermak Road to 24th Place in Chicago.

Bastille Day Chicago 2012: Celebrate the French National Day on Saturday, July 14 at Daley Plaza, 118 N. Clark St., Chicago, from 5 to 10 p.m., when there will be entertainment, music, food and a raffle. Admission is free; get discounted parking online.

Also check out:

SWANCC Document Destruction Event: Shred sensitive documents and recycle electronics in Evanston on Saturday.

Evanston Grand Prix: It’s pro cycling on Sunday in the heart of downtown Evanston!

Central Street Sidewalk Sale: Another great Evanston event all weekend long.

Wilmette Summerfest: A sidewalk sale with a classic car show and live entertainment to boot on Friday and Saturday.

Have a great weekend around Chicagoland!

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