Known for its diverse mix of restaurants, artists and innovative businesses, the River North neighborhood is unlike any in Chicago. For one extended weekend this summer, July 18th to 20th, the area's best will come together for the ultimate neighborhood showcase, the 13th annual Taste of River North (ToRN). 50,000 festers are expected to turn out for this year's three day bash, which encompasses the picturesque riverfront setting of A. Montgomery Ward Park and the surrounding streets (location, hours, etc located under 'Fine Print' below). Boasting an impressive list of River North restaurants and chefs, ToRN 2014 also includes non-stop live music, featuring bands and music that excites everyone, from Chicago's legendary 80s cover act, Sixteen Candles, to Sublime, Led-Zeppelin, and Red Hot Chili Pepper tribute acts - to name a few.
Hosted by the River North Residents Association (RNRA) and presented by East Bank Club, the gold sponsor, ToRN has something for everyone - world-class cuisine, unique artisans, electrifying music, the Walmart Healthy Cooking Stage, the Kid's Zone, and more - all for a $5 (donation) admission. ToRN also places heavy emphasis on being environmentally-friendly, offering guests several recycling options and a convenient green location easy to reach by walking, biking, or public transportation. Having grown each year in size, scope and attendance, it's easy to see why ToRN is said to reflect the path of its burgeoning neighborhood.
ToRN's emphasis is on the local foodie scene. Everything featured at ToRN is selected based on its popularity in the neighborhood. Only at ToRN do the area's top chefs congregate to dish out generous tastes of their creations. Needless to say, it's above and beyond anything served at standard summer street fests. This year's participating restaurants include (more restaurants TBA in subsequent press release):
Stout Barrel House & Gallery
The Green Door
The Melting Pot
The Motel Bar
The Redhead Piano Bar (serving wine by the glass)
ToRN's live music features everything from Chicago's most popular cover groups to some of the country's most acclaimed tribute bands. This year's weekend lineup features:
Friday, July 18
Sublime Tribute - 9 pm
No Doubt Tribute - 8 pm
Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute - 7 pm
Weezer Tribute - 6 pm
Saturday, July 19
Sixteen Candles - 8 pm
Stache - 6 pm
Hot Sauce Committee - 4 pm
97 Nine - 2 pm
Sunday, July 20
Led Zeppelin 2 - 6:30 PM
The Main Squeeze - 4:30 pm
The Kid Zone
Each year ToRN features the ultimate fest-within-a-fest for kids - two full days of dedicated programming from noon to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday only. The Kids Zone, right up along the beautiful riverfront, includes: amusing family entertainment, a newly renovated playground, as well as other exciting free activities like dancing, face painters, stilt walkers, balloon artists and various demos from local schools / organizations / programs.
The Walmart Healthy Cooking Stage
New to ToRN this year is the Walmart Healthy Cooking Stage, an exclusive demo stage showcasing some of the most popular chefs from River North and the Chicagoland area. The featured chefs (lineups TBA in subsequent release) will conduct 30-minute live cooking demonstrations focused on healthy recipes (gluten-free, etc) of their choice. The demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend and will be featured on a 16 x 16 stage (with mirrors and a microphone) with complimentary seating for 40 people.
Like the great cuisine, the River North neighborhood is famous for its art and design scene. As such, also appearing at ToRN are many of the neighborhood's best artisans, boutiques, and designers...who will all pop up shop along the Chicago River Walk. Vendor names are TBA in subsequent press release.
The River North Residents Association
RNRA was established in 1997 to enhance the quality of life in River North by facilitating cooperation between residents, businesses and government; promoting responsible real estate development; improving infrastructure and amenities; and advocating for a safe and vibrant neighborhood.
The Fine Print
There is a $5 suggested donation requested for admittance July 18 - 20. Hours of operation: Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday from noon to 10 PM, Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm. Ward Park is located at 630 N. Kingsbury (at Kingsbury and Erie) in Chicago, IL 60654. Tickets for food and beverage are $1.00 per ticket. ToRN 2014's gold sponsor is East Bank Club. The fest is also sponsored in part by Walmart Express, Citizen Bar, and Goose Island