Taste of Joliet canceled again

Park district makes plans for ‘smaller community event’ in August

There will be no Taste of Joliet for a second straight year, although Joliet Park District officials are working on a smaller event for August.

The park district on Tuesday announced the cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It marks the second consecutive year that the event held in June has been canceled because of the pandemic. The park district will plan to bring Taste of Joliet back in 2022, Executive Director Brad Staab said.

Staab said park officials decided it can’t be done this year given the June timing and typical crowds associated with the event.

“There are too many unknowns to put 25,000 people all in one space,” Staab said.

Park officials in a news release announcing the cancelation of Taste of Joliet advised people to watch for an announcement to come for “a smaller community event with live music and great food” that is expected to be held Aug. 20-22.

Taste of Joliet is a three-day event held at Memorial Stadium with nationally known bands that typically pack the stadium. The event includes food vendors that line the oval track at the stadium, a carnival and other attractions that bring in people throughout the day before the largest crowds come at night for live music.

Pushing back an event of that scale would not be possible, Staab said.

“To get everyone together and do it at a later date would be extremely difficult,” he said. “There are a lot of moving parts to the Taste. It just didn’t work out.”

Park officials have not worked out details for the alternative event, having just decided to cancel Taste, Staab said.

The event will be at the stadium on a smaller scale with live music from bands that are more local rather than the national acts that come to Taste, he said.

The announcement that Taste of Joliet is canceled comes as other event organizers are canceling, changing or rescheduling their usual summer festivals as they try to work with restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipate a return to more normal gatherings later in the summer or fall.

New Orleans North, an annual downtown festival run by the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry, has been pushed back from its usual June schedule to Sept. 11. The chamber, however, for a second year will not have its Fiesta en la Calle, which will be replaced with a smaller Tacos and Tequila tentatively planned for Sept. 16.

The Joliet City Center Partnership is planning Tunes & Brews on 66, a music and craft beef festival formerly called Blues & Brews on 66 and last held before the pandemic hit, for Aug. 7.