Taking cues from the perennial event up north in Chicago, Taste of Champaign hits West Side Park this weekend for its 38th year, exposing thousands of area residents to the “best” of what Champaign-Urbana restaurants have to offer.
The weekend is filled with plenty of activities for citizens of all ages, including live music from Backyard Tire Fire, Hurricane Gumbo and The Boat Drunks, the ever-present Jimmy Buffett tribute act regularly seen at community events.
In addition to all the food and fun, the Champaign Park District is doing its part to make this year a benefit as well, attempting to raise $10,000 in funds for its Youth Scholarship Fund.
And while all of this is a wonderful contribution to the social fabric of the community, questions in years past have risen: Why is there a McDonald’s booth at the Taste of Champaign? And what about Applebee’s? Are these restaurants really an accurate representation of what restaurants C-U has to offer, or do they merely represent restaurants that can afford the cost of renting a space at an event like this? Does it matter if the restaurants in attendance are run by Mom and Pop or by suits living in some other city?
Tell us your thoughts. In the meantime, we’ll be there, stuffing our faces with one thing or another.