‘Taste’ begins this weekend in downtown Champaign

By Erin Kelley

The 36th annual Taste of Champaign-Urbana will provide residents with food, fun and more this weekend. The festivities will include 25 different restaurants from the Champaign County area, more than 20 entertainment groups and 50 artists.

“We try to keep the food vendors from within Champaign County,” said Christy Harper, marketing coordinator of the Taste of Champaign-Urbana. “But we do open the artist (booths) and entertainment to people (from other areas).”

The Taste, put on by The News-Gazette and the Champaign Park District, will benefit the park district’s youth scholarship fund and be hosted in West Side Park in downtown Champaign. The festival will be open from 5-9 p.m. June 23, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. June 24 and from noon-5 p.m. June 25.

“(The Taste) provides an opportunity for people to familiarize themselves with places they may not normally see,” Harper said.

A variety of restaurants will showcase old favorites and new treats such as pizza, curry, buffalo wings, snowcones, sandwiches and barbecue. Starbucks Coffee Company will be donating 100 percent of its proceeds to the youth scholarship. While enjoying the food, residents will be able to listen to entertainment in one of the three tents hosting a wide-range of acts including cajun, classic rock, Latin, comedy, swing, blues and a Jimmy Buffet cover band. There will also be booths of jewelry, woodworking crafts, fiber art, photography, body art and paintings.

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