Things to do in Chicago

Happy 1,000 lb. cheesecake day, Taste of Chicago lovers

450 pounds of cream cheese, anyone?

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It's an unofficial holiday.

In 1980, Eli Schulman debut Eli's Cheesecake at the first ever taste of Chicago. And in 1987, he brought a humongous one to the event, doling out free slices to hungry festival goers.

Dessert lovers gobbled them up, of course. And that's when the 1,000-pound Eli's Cheesecake to celebrate the Taste of Chicago was born.

"It's really a great weekend in Chicago, so we're really excited to be back," Eli's Cheesecake president Marc Schulman said.

And so will their massive cheesecake.

According to Eli's officials, cows will be "working overtime" to produce the six-foot high cheesecakes, topped with baseball-sized cherries.

And if you're wondering what the grocery list looks like for a 1,000 cheesecake, you may want to bring a wagon to the store:

  • 450 pounds of cream cheese
  • 125 pounds of cookie dough
  • 100 pounds of old-fashioned buttercream icing
  • 70 pounds of sugar
  • 65 pounds of eggs
  • 63 pounds of Eli's Shortbread Cookie Crust
  • 50 pounds of sour cream
  • 25 pounds of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 25 pounds of cherry glaze
  • 25 pounds of graham crackers
  • Two pounds of vanilla

According to officials, the giant pie will be cut at this year's Taste of Chicago at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Slices will be handed out free to the crowd, while supplies last.

The iconic food fest, which typically takes place over the Fourth of July weekend, this year will kick off Sept. 8, lasting through Sept. 10. The new date was set because of the NASCAR Street Race earlier this summer, organizers said.

The festival will continue in its longtime home near Grant Parks' Buckingham Fountain, bringing more than 35 vendors and 15 food trucks along with three stages for musical performances, dance classes and more, officials announced. There will also be a beer hall, wine garden, cocktail lounge and a new frozen adult beverage station.

For families, there will be bounce houses and a number of games offered up.

“Since 1980, Taste of Chicago has been a beloved tradition showcasing our city’s incredible culinary and cultural offerings,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to invite Chicagoans and visitors alike to Grant Park once again to enjoy familiar Taste of Chicago favorites, new vendor additions and exciting entertainment for everyone to enjoy."

In addition to the humongous cheesecake, here's the full list of restaurants scheduled to be at this year's Taste of Chicago:

Food vendors

  • Cumin Club Indian Kitchen
  • Sapori Trattoria
  • Arun’s Thai Restaurant
  • The Original Rainbow Cone
  • Healthy Substance Kitchen
  • LC Pho Restaurant
  • Yum Dum, Churro Factory (Xurro)
  • African Food Palace
  • Porkchop
  • The Eli’s Cheesecake Company
  • Esperanza
  • Robinson No. 1 Ribs
  • Classic Cobbler
  • Baked Goods Company
  • Tacotlan
  • JJ Thai Street Food
  • Doom Street Eats
  • Badou
  • Senegalese Cuisine
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
  • Billy Goat Tavern
  • Chicago Eats
  • Gaby’s
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Frannie’s Café
  • Prime Tacos
  • The Sole Ingredient Catering
  • BJ’s
  • Market & Bakery
  • Connie’s Pizza
  • Seoul Taco Chicago
  • Chicago’s Doghouse
  • Tandoor Char House
  • Pies of London
  • Banato
  • Mr. E Chef Catering
  • Josephine’s Cooking
  • Yvolina’s Tamales

There will also be a "wide variety of food trucks."

Taste of Chicago Main Stage Schedule

Friday, September 8
DJ for the evening: Selah Say
5pm Slique Jay Adams and Mamii, both presented by Chicago Made
6pm Meagan McNeal
7pm Masters of the Mic: Hip Hop 50
featuring Doug E. Fresh, EPMD, KRS-One and Slick Rick

Saturday, September 9
DJ for the evening: DJ Janesita
5pm ÉSSO, presented by Chicago Made
6pm Lupita Infante with Mariachi Sirenas
7pm Proyecto Uno

Sunday, September 10
DJ for the evening: DJ Mike P
5pm Nola Adé and Cloud Farmers, both presented by Chicago Made
6pm White Mystery
7:15pm Whitney

Chicago SummerDance

Friday, September 8, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
11 a.m. DJ and Open Dancing
12 p.m. Line Dancing / Fre2Dance
1 p.m. Peruvian Folk Dance / Center of Peruvian Arts
2 p.m. Balboa (Swing) / Desiree Roffers
3 p.m. Reggaeton / Latin Street
4 p.m. DJ and Open Dancing

Saturday, September 9, 1 – 4:45 p.m.
1 p.m. Salsa / Latin Rhythms
2 p.m. Country Two-Step / Second City Country Dance Association
3 p.m. Zouk / Urbanity Dance Chicago
4 p.m. Dabke / Phaedra Darwish

Sunday, September 10, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
11 a.m. DJ and Open Dancing
12 p.m. Steppin’ / Majestic Gents
1 p.m. Eastern European Folk Dance / Ethnic Dance Chicago
2 p.m. Bollywood / Meher Dance Company
3 p.m. Bachata / Desueño Dance
4 p.m. DJ and Open Dancing

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