Thousands came out to the 2018 Taste of Joliet throughout the weekend for a three-day event full of food, music and fun.
Tom Carstens, executive director of the Joliet Park District, said his team of workers was worried about getting rained out Friday, but the weather cleared up for the weekend and he said they had a great opening night.
“It was the best we could have done with the weather the way it was,” Carstens said.
He added that they were expecting good crowds for the entire weekend. Last year, he expected more than 25,000 people, and he was hoping for even more this year.
While it rained for large portions of Thursday and some on Friday, the Taste kicked off with musical acts such as 7th Heaven, Dennis DeYoung and the music of Styx, as well as Rick Springfield.
Springfield was announced as the replacement for Huey Lewis and the News after Lewis announced in April it was canceling all performances for the remainder of the year.
Saturday saw musical acts such as the Brothers Osborne and Chase Rice take the stage. That day’s lineup also included country/pop artist and Joliet area native Stephen Neal. The Joliet Catholic Academy graduate has come back to the Will County area for performances multiple times as he’s pursued his career in Nashville. Carstens said he was expecting near record-breaking attendance for Saturday night.
There were 25 food vendors, a carnival and kids’ zone at the ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
Locals such as Henry Hendel said they come out every year, specifically for the great food.
“[I come out] to get the corn,” Hendel said. “And the funnel cake.”
Carstens said last year they beefed up security and this year, even more so with more police present. They also added new monitors for attendees to walk through, that sped up security checks and got people in a lot quicker.
If you go Sunday, doors are open from noon to 8 p.m. General admission costs $5 from noon to 3 p.m. and $10 from 3 to 7 p.m. Sundays typically are for more family-oriented events and entertainment acts. Carstens added that they wanted to include more Spanish-language music acts in Sunday’s lineup to attract more Latino patrons.
School of Rock will open the entertainment lineup at noon Sunday. The Millenials are up at 1 p.m., Big Dog Mercer at 2 p.m., DJ Events Pro at 3 p.m., Grupo La Obra at 4 p.m., Omar Sanchez Omi at 5 p.m., and Los Angeles de Charly at 6:30 p.m. to close out the weekend.
Children 11 and younger accompanied by an adult are free all weekend. Seniors 62 and older are $5 all weekend. Everyone, including children, must have a ticket to enter the front section. There is a $3 service fee to buy tickets online.