Joliet — There was a strong appetite for the return of Taste of Joliet last weekend.
Joliet Park District officials said they are happy with the turnout, glad they avoided the impact of Saturday night rains and ecstatic about the turnout for the Hispanic music lineup on what is often a slow Sunday at Taste of Joliet.
“It went absolutely fantastic,” park board President Sue Gulas said Monday.
It was the first Taste since 2019 after two years of cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to have it back,” Gulas said. “It was like we didn’t miss a beat.”
The park district will not have attendance totals until later this week.
Executive Director Brad Staab said the official count will show good numbers but probably not the biggest ever.
“It was a very solid weekend but not the largest,” Staab said.
The numbers may indicate it was the biggest Sunday attendance, however, he said.
It was not the first time that Taste of Joliet featured Hispanic music for Sunday of the fest. But headline act Lupillo Rivera proved to be a big attraction.
“People were just pouring in,” Gulas said. “The fire department ran out of corn. We ran out of a couple of kinds of beer. It was over the top.”
The corn on the cob provided by the Joliet Fire Department is a Taste of Joliet favorite.
Attendance may have rivaled the showing for Friday night, which featured one less performer when Ann Wilson of Heart canceled due to COVID-19 in her band and crew. Gulas, however, said the turnout did not appear to be affected by the cancellation.
Saturday, which is country music day and typically draws the biggest attendance, attracted the most people again this year, Gulas said.
The musicians and park officials worked around the Saturday night rain by moving acts up one hour.
“The last performer, Brett Young, literally walked off the stage at 9:45 p.m.,” Gulas said. “At 10:10 or 10:15 the rain came down.”
Taste of Joliet culminated a June in Joliet that was full of weekend events that started with Star Wars Day and continued with New Orleans North and new Juneteenth celebrations.
The community’s festivities continue this weekend with two Independence Day celebrations.
Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park hosts an Independence Day Celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. on Sunday with live music and fireworks. The Traditional Fourth of July fireworks will be Monday at the Joliet Junior College Main Campus off Houbolt Road, and people are required to arrive before 9 p.m. to gain entry.