Taste of Park Ridge marks 20 years of food and fun
Park Ridge is kicking off summer festival season this week with the Taste of Park Ridge, a three-day extravaganza of food, talent shows and music.
It takes place 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12-13, in Uptown Park Ridge, along Summit Avenue between Touhy and Prospect avenues. Admission is free; food and drink tickets are eight for $5.
This will be the festival's 20th year. To celebrate, the Taste of Park Ridge is hosting a youth talent showcase. Lynette's School of Dance, Park Ridge School of Rock and Viking Gymnastics and Dance will perform at the festival Friday and Saturday.
"The youth showcase developed from the number of local youth musicians and dance students expressing interest in performing every year," Taste of Park Ridge President Dave Iglow said.
"We felt that an expansion of stage time for these entertainers of the future would satisfy both the attendees and the aspiring artists simultaneously."
There will be plenty of live music, as well. After the opening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, ARRA takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. On Friday, Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press headline a night of rock at 9 p.m. And, on Saturday, Two for the Blues goes on at 3:30 p.m., followed by Head Honchos at 5 p.m. and Karma Committee at 6:45 p.m. 7th heaven finishes off the festival with a performance at 9 p.m.
Participating food vendors will offer a variety of cuisines. They include Armory Pizzeria and Grill, Charcoal Delights, Cream of the Crepe, D'Agostino's, Dairy Queen, Dolcetti, Hay Caramba, Himalayan Restaurant, Joseph's Meats, Lisa's Italian Ice, Make Room for Truman, Murray Bros Caddy Shack, Panino's Pizza, Rex Italian Foods, Spike's Smokey Barbecue, Sputino's Pizza, St. John Chystosmos Monastery, Stefani Prime Italian and The Sandlot.
"This is such a great time to get together and have fun enjoying food, drink and entertainment during the summer," Sponsorship Committee chairman Dean J. Patras said. "Also, we are introducing the 'Taste Wine & Tropical Drink Oasis' this year for those seeking to imbibe while enjoying the food and music."
The Taste of Park Ridge grew out of Taste of Uptown, an effort to boost foot traffic for local businesses. Iglow said that in the early years, they worked with the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce to put on the festival.
"In 2005, with the Chamber out of the equation for several reasons, we formed a 501(c)(6) corporation to independently operate the event," Iglow said. "With a few committee member changes, we have continued to improve and expand the event each year."
Their 501(c)(6) is a not-for-profit organization. Admission to the event is free. The proceeds from food and drink tickets go toward the costs of hosting the festival. Iglow's group pays for the entertainment, a stage, tents, generators and more.
It takes nearly a year to plan the Taste of Park Ridge. But Iglow said it's all worthwhile to see families enjoying the band performances and the festival food and drink together. And there's plenty for children to do, as well.
"The Family Fun Zone, which occurs on Saturday, is particularly enjoyable, as we witness the children just luxuriating in the innocent joy of jumping in the bounce houses and riding on the train," he said. "It makes my heart bounce as well."
20th annual Taste of Park Ridge festivalWhen: 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13
Where: Summit Avenue, between Touhy and Prospect avenues, Park Ridge
Highlights: Food vendors; live music, including headliners Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press on Friday and 7th heaven on Saturday; and the "Taste the Talent" youth showcase with musical, dance, and gymnastics performances by young people