Taste Of Chicago 2012

1.2 million people attend revamped annual food fest.

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Cindy Barrymore
An estimated 1.2 million people attended the revamped Taste of Chicago. This year's festival was shortened to five days from its traditional 10, and didn't fall over the Fourth of July weekend. Only four arrests were made and organizers are optimistic that they didn't lose any money on the event this year.
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Dierks Bentley performs on Sunday.
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After an introduction from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago native Jennifer Hudson helped kick off the 32nd annual Taste of Chicago food festival inside the Petrillo Music Shell. Hudson headlined the first day of concerts at the festival, notable because for the first time, $25 tickets were sold for reserved seating.
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a special introduction to kick off the first night of Taste Of Chicago.
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The Taste of Chicago opening ceremony started off with the cutting of a giant Eli's Cheesecake. Actor Kelsey Grammer, who plays the mayor of Chicago in the TV series "Boss," sang Happy Birthday and cut the first slice of the 1000 pound birthday cake. Eli's, a Chicago original, has been participating in the Taste since it began in 1980.
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Eli’s Maureen Shulman said the cake took about 2 weeks to make with the help of 20 people.
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Actor Kelsey Grammer joins in singing Happy Birthday to Eli's Cheesecake, as well as Chicago’s 175th birthday, and the Taste of Chicago’s 32nd.
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Chef Jimmy Bannos.
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Maureen Jacoby, who loves deserts and has been eating Eli’s for a long time, took a bite of the enormous cheesecake and said it was fabulous.
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Grammer told NBC though he was excited to taste the cake, he wasn’t sure how he would cut it.
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Skokie's Adventure Club kids pose with a slice of cheesecake, then grab their own.
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“Yum!” Grammer’s first word after cutting the massive cake.
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Dominick’s Cooking Corner – A small crowd gathered as Judson Todd Allen, Season 8 Chicago’s Finalist of Next Food Network Star, demonstrated his cooking with the help of an audience member.
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Taste of Chicago Manager Mary Slowik said this year’s Taste has added 15 pop up restaurants. Each restaurant will serve their dishes every day for one day.
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Connor Altier, Jackie Smith, Kyle Gikeson enjoying their coconut ice.
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Kristen Kiriluk, Kyle Kiriluk, Alex Heinz said they plan on eating and staying out all day.
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