June 26, 2008

Get out there and play

When it comes to food, Chicago has always had plenty to offer. From Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs to ethnic fare and, of course, cheesecake, the Taste of Chicago brings more than 200 venues with plenty of variety to the palette. Your kids won’t be able to use the excuse,“There’s nothing good to eat here.” This Friday kicks off the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, which runs through July 7.

The Taste has plenty of family-friendly and kid-related activities in the Family Village at Jackson and Columbus drives. Kids can ride their favorite carousel animal or take a lap around the train tracks and jump to their heart’s content on the Jumping Jack. For family-friendly music and entertainment, head over to the Fun Time Stage where more than 50 acts will perform including Jeanie B! and the Jelly Beans at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. For a full lineup of activities and entertainment visit the Web site.

A visit to The Taste on July 3 will provide your family with music from the Grant Park Orchestra, beginning at 8 p.m., followed by a 20-minute fireworks display set to music chosen by radio station WTMX at 9:31 p.m. The fireworks will broadcast live on WGN-TV. If one night of fireworks isn’t enough, the Taste will run a simultaneous show with the Navy Pier display July 4 at 9:30 p.m.

The Taste of Chicago runs daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., with ticket sales ending at 8:30 p.m. Ticket sales on July 3-4 end at 9 p.m. with the event closing at 9:30 p.m. On the final day, July 6, ticket sales end at 5:30 p.m. and the event closes at 6 p.m. The Taste covers Columbus Drive from Monroe Drive to Roosevelt Road, Jackson Drive from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore and Congress drives from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive.

Admission to the Taste and concerts is free, but tickets for food cost extra. Tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8 at ticket booths and at participating Dominick’s stores. For more information, visit www.tasteofchicago.us.

Get your tickets here

Four lucky Chicago Parent readers will win a family six pack to see the Joliet Jackhammers during any regular season game. The tickets are undated box seat flex-vouchers. Of the four readers, one reader will win a chance to throw out the first pitch. The only“catch,” this winning family will have to go to the Aug. 3 game, which starts at 5:05 p.m. For your chance to win visit our discussion board.

Get out there and play some more

If your name is Elizabeth, have we got an event for you: the Gathering of Elizabeths. This Saturday, the residents of Elizabeth, Ill., will attempt to set a new world record by having the most Elizabeths in one place; sorry to those who spell it Elisabeth, you are unfortunately excluded.

The town is trying to beat the previous record of the most people with one name in the same place at the same time, which is currently 1,092 people named Mohammed. That gathering took place in Dubai in 2005. To go for the official world record, only people with the first name of Elizabeth will count and participants must bring their original birth certificates. If your first name isn’t legally Elizabeth, but your middle name is, the town is also going to attempt an unofficial record for the most people in one place who have the same first or middle name.

The official gathering takes place at the Apple River Fort, 311 E. Myrtle St., Elizabeth. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., but be sure to arrive by noon for a group photo. Other activities taking place all day throughout the town include a sidewalk art competition at 2 p.m. and a fashion show of Elizabeths past and present at the Apple River Fort.

The Gathering of Elizabeths coincides with Fort Days at the fort and the Green Fair at Highland Community College West, Route 20 West, Elizabeth. During Fort Days families can watch historic actors demonstrating different tasks and playing old-fashioned games.

Green Fair activities include exhibitors and panel discussions on energy efficiency, worm composting, face painting and a backyard wildlife habitat. Admission is $5, $2 kids 8-17 and free for kids 8 and under.

The Gathering of Elizabeths costs $10 per person, which includes registration, a T-shirt and gift bag. To register or for more information, including special discounts at local businesses for those named Elizabeth, visit www.mostelizabeths.com.

Piece of the prize

Five lucky Chicago Parent readers will win“Elmo’s World: Summer Vacation” on DVD. For your chance to win visit our discussion board.

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