Time for the Taste: Park Ridge’s annual food festival returns July 12
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory employee Kelley Bowles makes a chocolate-covered Banana in the Park Ridge store on July 6. These treats will be sold during Taste of Park Ridge, July 12-14 in Uptown. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
NAME: Taste of Park Ridge
HOURS: noon to 10 p.m. July 12; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 13 and July 14.
LOCATION: Summit Avenue, between Prospect and Touhy avenues.
Updated: August 13, 2012 6:48AM
PARK RIDGE — Chocolate-dipped bananas. Stuffed artichoke hearts. Chicken quesadillas. Pizza fresh from the oven. Cannolis.
Is your stomach rumbling yet?
Don’t just sit around imagining these delectable dietary delights. Get out and taste them this weekend.
The Taste of Park Ridge returns July 12 through July 14 in Uptown with food fare from two-dozen different vendors — all available for purchase. Food tickets are eight for $5 and there is no separate admission fee.
“It should be more fun and more successful than ever,” predicted Taste Chairman Mel Thillens, who estimates that more than 10,000 people ate, shopped and were entertained during last summer’s fest.
From Mexican, Thai and Italian cuisine to gourmet donuts and cupcakes to frozen daiquiris, there’s a little of everything at the annual Park Ridge food fest, which almost didn’t happen this year.
Issues involving revenue-sharing and delays by the City Council in finalizing a contract with a preferred organizer put a question mark over the Taste of Park Ridge for some time. Even the name of the festival was in doubt. But Thillens says he was optimistic.
“I was always confident we’d be able to come up with an agreement. It’s good for everybody,” he said. “I always wanted to work with the city and come to an agreement that makes everyone happy.”
As a result the city of Park Ridge can expect to be reimbursed for staffing costs incurred to run the Taste, as well as a portion of any profits.
As in past years the Taste will feature food booths lining Summit Avenue between Prospect and Touhy avenues, and a main stage with various performances during the three-day event.
Major acts include the Chicago Catz musical review of Motown’s greatest hits at 8:30 p.m. July 12, preceded at 8 p.m. by the Park Ridge Fine Arts Symphony at Hodges Park; cover band Your Villian My Hero on at 8:30 p.m. July 13; and Hot Rocks, the Rolling Stones tribute band, at 8:30 p.m. July 14.
Two winners of teen-band competition Bobbapalooza will also take the stage: The Common Place, consisting of Park Ridge teen rockers, will play at 1:30 p.m. July 14, followed by Breach the Wall of Franklin Park at 2 p.m.
Park Ridge resident Tony Bernard will present his “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay” show at 4:30 p.m. July 12, while fellow Park Ridge resident and actor Doug James and his band, Doug James and the Pocket, will take the stage at 3:30 p.m. July 14.
The Park Ridge Recreation and Park District will also present “Party in the Park” programs starting at 10 a.m. July 14 and featuring crafts, games and a dance party.
New this year will be a Chocolate Cook-Off at 1:45 p.m. on July 13 on the main stage. Four new food vendors include Creme of the Crepe and Mrs. A’s Cupcakes of Park Ridge, Rex Italian Foods of Norridge and Chicago Marriott Suites O’Hare.
While all of the food and fun is going on a number of Uptown merchants will be participating in the annual summer Sidewalk Sale. Sidewalk sales started July 11 and end July 15. The Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce will also sponsor the business expo, Canopies on Courtland, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Organizers are hoping for a big turnout and, of course, cooperation from the weather.
“It’s a great community event and it’s a place to get together with your neighbors and see what Park Ridge has to offer, from the businesses in town to the entertainment acts to the restaurants,” Thillens said of the Taste.