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Local News

Taste of Joliet draws 55,600, sets Saturday record

Weather turned out fine despite Sunday storm

A festivalgoer watches the Freak Out ride at sunset on Friday, June 21, 2019, at Joliet Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill. The three-day Taste of Joliet festival features live music, food from local restaurants and a carnival for all ages. Taste drew 18,000 people on Friday when Foreigner was the headline act.
A festivalgoer watches the Freak Out ride at sunset on Friday, June 21, 2019, at Joliet Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Ill. The three-day Taste of Joliet festival features live music, food from local restaurants and a carnival for all ages. Taste drew 18,000 people on Friday when Foreigner was the headline act.

Taste of Joliet drew a record-setting crowd for a Saturday as the event attracted 55,600 over three days.

The biggest day was Saturday, which featured country music performers including Cole Swindell and Scotty McCreery, when 28,100 people came to Taste.

The Saturday attendance was “a new one-day record” for the event, Brad Staab, interim executive director for the Joliet Park District, said Wednesday. Taste drew 18,000 people Friday when Foreigner was the headline act. Sunday, typically the lightest day of the event, drew 9,500.

Staab said park officials are satisfied with all three days of turnout.

Sunday was interrupted by a thunderstorm, which led to an evacuation at Memorial Stadium because of lightning, and a half-hour interruption. But on a weekend that started with mixed forecasts of possible rain and thunderstorms, park officials overall were happy with the weather.

“The weekend could not have been better for us,” Staab said.

Friday was particularly chancy, with weather maps showing the possibility of a steady rain system arriving in Joliet and staying through the evening. But the rain never came.

“Somehow, it kind of went south of us, and then Saturday was a beautiful day,” Staab said.

Park officials were hoping for a good turnout at Taste of Joliet to generate revenue and help fill a budget gap. Staab said the total attendance for the event was “right up there with the best” turnouts for Taste of Joliet. “It’s exactly what we were hoping for,” he said.

The park district did not have final financial numbers on Wednesday of the event.

“I think we can easily say it will be profitable,” Staab said.

Taste of Joliet has never operated at a loss, although there was one rainy weekend when it only made $600, Staab said.

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