taste of chicago

Taste of Chicago Begins With Heightened Security Following Highland Park Shooting

Numerous uniformed Chicago police officers and security personnel will be scattered throughout Grant Park during the three-day festival

NBC Universal, Inc.

Following Monday's mass shooting in which seven people were killed and dozens injured in Highland Park's Fourth of July parade, security has been stepped up at one of Chicago's most popular events as a precaution.

The Taste of Chicago, a summer staple for decades, got underway Friday for the first time since the pandemic, and so far, it has already attracted large crowds.

In wake of the Highland Park mass shooting, some visitors are more vigilant than before.

"I’m a family man, so, you know, I definitely want to be as safe as possible," one attendee said.

"You definitely think twice having children, young children, that you have to keep up with," another commented.

Numerous uniformed Chicago police officers and security personnel will be scattered throughout Grant Park during the course of the three-day festival.

"Be reassured that you have a lot of people that are concerned with these types of situations every day on a daily basis, seven days a week, and we are certainly working very hard continually to keep Chicago safe, our residents safe and our visitors," said Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

If you're planning to attend the three-day event, police want you to say something if you see something.

"I mean the bottom line is, if your gut tells you that a group of ten people over there getting unruly and it looks dangerous, then walk away and maybe say something to a security guard," said security consultant Jack Phillips.

Phillips also offered suggestions to help ensure safety.

"So if you like look at the map, see where the layouts are, check where security is, check where the gates are, now if something does happen you have an idea of where you’re at," he said.

While visitors say safety is on their mind, a sense of normalcy is too.

"It does concern me a little bit," one attendee said. "I’d like to think we should kind of keep doing what we’re doing and still enjoy our lives."

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