Will iconic city events like the Taste of Chicago and the Air and Water Show be canceled next year?
Officially, there has been no announcement the events will not take place, but Chicago is providing no funding in its new budget, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said Thursday in a statement.
The department said the Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Air and Water show both will not be funded at this time due to "the realities of a pandemic budget."
Jamey Lundblad, Chief Marketing Officer for DCASE, said by not funding these events, the city potentially could save nearly $9 million.
Lundblad added that DCASE will provide a calendar of free cultural events amid the pandemic such as Blues and Jazz concerts in Millennium Park and ¡Súbelo!, a Latinx music celebration as part of World Music Festival.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the issue Thursday, reminding that DCASE is funded by a revenue that helps hotels and restaurants, many of which have struggled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's not like there's a pot of money sitting there. The budget is projected based upon what we expect those revenues to come into," Lightfoot said. "And if those revenues don't come in, then that substantially changes the trajectory of the kind of programming."
Lightfoot added that the timing is too premature to make any decision pertaining to events that may or may not happen next year, especially as the city faces a coronavirus resurgence.
"Now's not the time for us to really be thinking much about big outdoor events," Lightfoot said.