Chicago, IL

NASCAR street race vs. Taste of Chicago: Will Chicago face a 'planning disaster' this summer?

Jennifer Geer

Is Chicago asking for a "planning disaster" by holding the Taste of Chicago on the same weekend as the NASCAR street race in Grant Park?

(CHICAGO) The Taste of Chicago, a summertime festival dating back to the 1980s is getting the boot from its regular spot in Grant Park. The city is hosting a NASCAR street course race the same July 4 weekend, in Grant Park, where the Taste is usually held.

Outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot made plans last year to bring a NASCAR race to the streets of Chicago for three years. This deal was not without criticism.

A report from Chicago Crain's revealed the NASCAR event would be "more disruptive" and "less lucrative" than Lollapalooza.

How lucrative is the NASCAR deal?

According to Chicago WGNTV, Chicago will get paid $500,000 by NASCAR for hosting the two-week event. Lollapalooza pays $2 million for its four-day festival.

Taste of Chicago not held in Grant Park?

Mayor Lightfoot plans to move the food event to Polk Brothers Park, located west of the Navy Pier entrance. It would be held during the same time as the NASCAR race, possibly creating a logistical headache for the city.

Scheduling the Taste of Chicago has been delayed

The plans to move the Taste of Chicago to Navy Pier face backlash. According to the Chicago SunTimes,

"Downtown Alderpersons Brendan Reilly (42nd) and Brian Hopkins (2nd) persuaded Special Events and Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Nick Sposato (38th) to hold the annual special events ordinance in committee to avert what Reilly called a 'planning disaster.'"

Holding the ordinance in committee will delay scheduling the Taste, perhaps buying more time to push the event back to the fall when it can be held in Grant Park and there are no other events scheduled to compete for the city's resources.

Reilly had the following to say to the SunTimes regarding the mayor's decision to move the festival without communication:

“Total lack of transparency. No communication. No input. Unilateral decision-making. All the things, the key ingredients, that make a lame-duck mayor."

What do you think?

Do you want to see the Taste of Chicago held near Navy Pier on the same weekend as the NASCAR race? Or would you rather the Taste get pushed back to fall and return to its usual spot in Grant Park? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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