Food just opening act at Taste of Wheaton
Wheaton's ever-evolving restaurant scene will show off some of its newest members and bring back longtime favorites at the Taste of Wheaton, a four-day festival that opens Thursday evening, May 30, in downtown and runs through Sunday, June 2.
Along with the local fare, there will be several food offerings from other locales, said Kristina Nemetz, superintendent of marketing and special events for Wheaton Park District, which is presenting the festival with the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce.
"We have about 26 food vendors. There are probably eight or so local vendors," Nemetz said.
Among them are Gia Mia, Steamboat BBQ, Gino's East, Choun's and Graham's Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream, she said.
One of the newer additions is Moveable Feast, a cafe that originated in Geneva and recently opened a second location in Wheaton.
Also new this year will be the addition of Nani's Pizza and Pasta, an eatery from the operators of the Taco Factory, a Taste staple.
"They've always done Taco Factory at the fest. They liked Wheaton so much they opened a pizzeria," Nemetz said.
Food vendor booths will be set up along Wheaton Avenue.
While a central player, food is just one aspect of the festival, a bash that aims to deliver a "taste" of many of the city's best qualities.
To the east of Wheaton Avenue, in Memorial Park, visitors will find a beer and wine garden, live entertainment and a Market Place in the Park. Musical headliners will include Vital Signs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Libido Funk Circus at 8 p.m. Friday, Hi Infidelity at 8 p.m. Saturday and the Red Woody Band at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The park also will host a Business After Hours at 4 p.m. Thursday and an arts and crafts fair from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
"The arts and crafts used to be up and down the street. We actually moved it into the park this year, making it all a little more intimate," Nemetz said.
Children's activities will include face painting, a tie-dye station and a Touch-A-Truck event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday on Karlskoga Avenue that will give children a chance to see vehicles such as a school bus, squad car, backhoe and military Hummer.
Early risers ready to run will set off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, June 1, from Memorial Park in the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals, a fundraiser to benefit the zoo that's been certified by the Chicago Area Runners Association. The races will take athletes through the city's north side.
The 5K and 10K races are chip-timed events; the half-mile Zippity Zoo race is an untimed fun run, organizers said.
Race-day registration is available for a fee of $45 for the 5K and 10K runs and $20 for the half-mile competition.
Farther east, at the Clocktower Mini Golf and Skate Park, visitors will find two-for-one mini golf beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday.
The Taste will offer carnival rides and games on Liberty Drive from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Motor enthusiasts will find the Downtown Wheaton Association Car Show on Karlskoga Avenue from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.