As the Great Recession continues to fade and recovery happens all-so-slowly, we have less money in our pockets to spend. Those of us who still have credit cards are wisely refraining from using them. Those of us just spending cash are learning to budget anew.
That means less "disposable income" to use for such things as the Taste of Chicago. More of us stayed home or celebrated elsewhere this year, compared to years past.
The 2010 Taste of Chicago drew 2.65 million people, about 700,000 fewer than the 3.35 million who attended the summer chow-fest in 2009.
The 21 percent attendance drop was mainly because the city canceled the July 3 Grant Park fireworks, an event that would bring more than 1 million downtown and through the Taste booths on that day alone, said Cindy Gatziolis of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.
"People were coming in droves," Gatziolis said of the July 3 fireworks, which were canceled this year after 35 years in favor of three July 4 shows spread out along the lakefront. "They were filling up every available space."
The July 3 fireworks annually brought numbers that one of the Taste’s most attended musical acts, the 2008 Stevie Wonder show, couldn’t rival. Gatziolis said 350,000 people attended the Taste the day of Wonder’s concert.
And there was the crime. As of Sunday, 55 people had been arrested at the Taste as of Saturday night, and nine of those were charged with felonies, the Sun-Times reports.