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CHICAGO The Taste of Chicago will be reimagined in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a shorter, more spread-out festival taking place across eight neighborhoods.

Judging by Wednesday’s turnout, the unique approach has been a success.

For Chicago resident Alicia Morris, the festival is a chance to try something new.

“It’s alligator sausage. So far, so good, with the onions and bacon on it, it’s pretty tasty,” Morris said.

The adjusted festival is a noticeable departure from the 1.5 million people typically expected each year in Grant Park. Thanks to the loosening of some restrictions, the smaller vendors across the city are getting their chance to shine.

“It’s blown every expectation out of the water,” Seattle resident Jake Niles said.

Niles is currently with his family visiting the city, while adding that sense of community was felt from the festival.

For Theresa and Robert Clark who live in Pullman, seeing the downtown festival make its way to their neighborhood is extremely exciting.

“It’s been a long time coming. Sometimes we feel neglected and I’m glad to see it,” Clark said.

The turnout has also pleased 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale, who commended the comfortable environment of the festival.

The festival will make its way to Austin on Thursday before making stops in Humboldt Park, Near West Side, West Englewood and Garfield Park this weekend.

All dates and locations of this year’s ‘Taste to Go’ festival can be found here.

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