Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Italians Do It Better: The 29th Annual Taste of Melrose Park

I spent this past Labor Day Weekend where I always do - in Melrose Park, a predominately Italian western suburb of Chicago - stuffing my face with delicious food and soaking up the sights. The Taste of Melrose Park, now in its 29th year, is a celebratory weekend for the locals, and consists of a kiddie amusement park, various arts and crafts booths, four stages of free entertainment from morning until night, and - most importantly - 70 primarily family-run food booths. When you attend, you not only eat some of the best Italian food outside of Italy, but you also have the distinct suspicion that perhaps you're in Chicago's very own hybrid version of "The Sopranos" meets the "Jersey Shore." For many years now, my band, The Betty Fords, has played the Taste and this year I was also asked to take photos throughout the weekend. Below are some of those images.

The Arts and Crafts area:

The kiddie amusement park area:

The Jesse White Tumblers put on an incredible show every year:

The food booths get crowded around dinner time - and rightfully so. Below are some of my favorite booths:

And then there's the entertainment:

(This is Peggy Difazio in the bottom left corner of the above photo. She runs the Taste and deserves a hell of a lot of credit for making it the success that it is year after year. In this photo, she and the bagpipers are looking at the American flag being raised by veterans, and for some reason, every time I look at it, the Bette Midler song, "From a Distance," comes to mind.)

Until next year Taste of Melrose...XO

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