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Staff Picks & Hot Tips for Taste of Champaign-Urbana

Each year, Champaign Park District staff work countless hours prepping and running the Taste of Champaign-Urbana. During that time, we get to try out a lot of great food! See below to find out what a few of us are excited for this year, then read on for some helpful festival tips.


Staff Picks

Katie – Every year I look forward to Chester’s BBQ Chicken nachos.  They usually run out of them on Saturday so you got to get a TASTE early. : )

Jenna – Totally the pulled pork nachos from Chester’s BBQ!!! I’m excited to try the chicken nachos this year! One Friday night, one Saturday!

Tammy – I’m so excited for the food vendors this year!  I am trying to eat healthier, and I was so excited to see Salad Meister and Hybrid Fit Food.  I plan on having a Turkey Burger and Market Salad!

Shannon – Manolos’ Chicken Inferno empanadas (w/side of sour cream when they have it) – every year since they have been at Taste or since I have been working here~ not sure which was first!

Stacey – Looking forward to trying fish tacos from Piato per Shannon’s recommendation.

Bret – Stoutfellas Tacos & Brisket Slider from Mamma D’s

Dan – Peking Garden!!!! Also, Dank Meme from Triptych 🙂

Chelsea – Apple-butter bacon pizza slice from Manolo’s, Fried Plantains from Caribbean Grill, and Reserve from Blind Pig


Hot Tips

View the map by clicking here!

How to buy food/beverages/etc: All food & drink, and kids activities require Taste Tickets. Simply visit the ticket tent in the central area of the park to purchase. We accept credit and cash! The art booths accept a variety of payment types depending on the vendor’s preferences.

New in the Chambanamoms.com Kids Zone: Knockerball! You may have seen it.. Knockerball® is a single chamber inflatable sphere with inner handles and adjustable shoulder straps. Kids can jump, “wrestle” and more – it should be really fun for older kids, a demographic we really want to make sure has a good time at Taste. The kids area also has the tried and true elements like inflatables, bubbles, face painting, and balloon animals all weekend long!

Free live music info: Sun Stereo (Saturday’s headliner) has rocked Streetfest for us before and was amazing. Everyone in the crowd was smiling and dancing! They are great fun. Murphy500 (Friday’s headliner) is an up and coming rock country act that should get toes tapping for sure. Overall, it is cool to support local music! We fully recommend making an effort to catch at least a few of the bands playing during the event on the Illinois American Water Stage. Also – look out for the pop-up performances off-stage, thanks to 40 North 88 West’s support! The best part? It’s free!

Other Family-Friendly Festival Features (yay alliteration!): We have diaper changing areas! They are marked on our map with an adorable diaper icon. We also have potty houses all over the park and many hand washing stations. Illinois American Water will have a free water booth. We have a First Aid tent, so if you encounter any boo-boos please stop by. The playground will be accessible all weekend if the kiddos just need to run it out!

Speaking of running – families may participate in the Pie Run! It is a 5K walk/run starting and ending in the park with on-site registration being accepted. Don’t feel like running? Go cheer and watch the runners get pied at the end of the race. It finishes in the park off Elm Street on Saturday night. So fun!

Be sure to walk down the Community Corridor too. We have many sponsors and organizations that will be doing fun contests and giving away neat things, as well as info about your community!

What’s the point: Overall, a major pro of coming to an event like Taste of Champaign-Urbana is running into familiar faces and meeting new friends over a slice of pizza or at an artist booth. There is a lot to discover about our community and we hope to highlight that with this event. Come out, get to know your fellow Chambanians, and have fun outdoors!


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