Ready to tackle The Taste with toddlers? If you'd like to head
out to this year's Taste of Chicago with young kids in tow, doing a
few simple things ahead of time can make the day go a whole lot
First, visit the Taste of Chicago website to get a schedule of
entertainment for the day you're planning to visit, as well as a
map of vendors. Figure out what kind of food you want and where
that booth is located, then print out the map and tuck it in your
bag. One of the biggest reasons people feel overwhelmed by the
crowds is that everyone's staring up at menus trying to figure out
what they want, says Cindy Gatziolis, spokesperson for the Chicago
Office of Special Events. With your map in hand, you can just head
directly to your food vendors of choice.
And, while you're planning ahead, food and beverage tickets can
be purchased in advance of the Taste of Chicago at all Dominick's
stores in Illinois with a Fresh Values Card from July 5-10 for $7 a
strip (12 tickets to a strip), limit 4 strips per person. Tickets
can be purchased after July 10th at all Dominick's stores for $8 a
strip, until supplies run out.
Once you get to the Taste, start with smaller portions for
"Keep in mind, every restaurant has two taste portions,
which are just made for children," says Mary Slowik, Taste of
Chicago manager. "They are two smaller servings and nothing is more
than four tickets, which is $2."
This year there will be about 50 restaurants
serving food at the Taste, with everything from ethnic food to
classic American favorites.
"This is a great opportunity to sample your family's
favorite items, as well as explore all the different cuisine that
Chicago has to offer," Slowik says.
But if you don't think your picky toddler is going to eat
anything you buy, go ahead and pack the food and drink they'll
eat-the entry-point guards will check bags, but they're looking for
alcohol, not juice boxes.
When you're done tasting, visit the Family Village area of the
festival, at Columbus and Jackson, a perennial family
"It has activities from museums and different vendors do
promotions," says Slowik.
If you're caught short and need an emergency diaper
change, Family Village has free diaper supplies.
One last word of advice: Try to get to The Taste early-opening
time at 11 a.m. when it is least crowded.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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