Taste Gets High Marks on First Day

Long lines, good vibes reported on kickoff to revamped food festival

It's shorter and smaller this year, but the 2012 Taste of Chicago seemed to be getting high marks on its opening day.

City officials won't release total numbers until the festival is over, but vendors and patrons had positive things to say about the kickoff.

"I was thinking that it was going to be very scare today, but we opened at 11 and there were lines," The Smoke Daddy's Josh Rutherford said.

The crowd for an opening day on a Wednesday is just as good as an opening day on a Friday," Polo Cafe's Dave Samber said.

Taste has a new date and was shortened from 10 days to five this year. Also new this year is paid tickets for reserved concert seating in the Petrillo Music Shell.

Jennifer Hudson headlined Wednesday evening, with about two-thirds of the available tickets sold.

"There's a handful of tickets left for tonight's Death Cab for Cutie show," Special Events spokeswoman Cindy Gatziolas said. "It's gradually building, and once people realize it's not going to be 110 degrees out, they'll show up."

The festival is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. each day.

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