Taste Of Chicago Nixes Fee

Admission to Chicago’s famous summer food festival will remain free.

The administration of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley turned down Feb. 1 the lone bid from a private venture to operate the Taste of Chicago. City Budget Director Eugene Munin said in a statement the entry fee was unacceptable.

A joint venture called Celebrate Chicago had proposed charging admission — first $20 and more recently $10 — to the popular lakefront event. The joint venture was a partnership of the Illinois Restaurant Association, Jam Productions and AEG Live.

Instead, the city will continue to run Taste of Chicago and other festivals despite $7 million in losses during the past three years. City officials have said the scale of the events could be cut back if a private operator couldn’t be found.