". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Taste of Chicago

Yesterday my two oldest children and I spent the afternoon at Taste of Chicago. This is an annual summertime event in downtown Chicago at which attendees can sample some of the best restaurant fare in Chicagoland. Along with the restaurant booths there are various attractions, including carnival rides, small vendors, musical acts, and street entertainment. Although we have lived in the Chicago suburbs for 7 years now, we only attended the "Taste" for the first time last year as the result of my son participating in a chess event there. Because of his national chess ranking, Trevor has been recognized by the Illinois Chess Association's Warren Program. Warren Scholars, as they are called, have achieved and held for a period of time a national ranking among the top 35 for their age in the country (Trevor is currently 20th for 14-year-olds). As a part of their participation in the program, Warren Scholars are eligible to receive financial assistance for chess lessons, and they participate in events designed to promote awareness and enjoyment of chess, especially among young people.

Thus our attendance at Taste of Chicago for the second year in a row. The Warren Program hosted a booth yesterday afternoon at which they provided casual play and instruction to passers-by. They also disseminated information about chess opportunities in Chicago and welcomed donations from anyone interested in supporting their efforts. So while my dear husband stayed home with the 3-year-old (because of the extremely dense crowds I don't recommend taking small children to this venue), Caitlin and I accompanied Trevor in hopes of enjoying some of the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the day while he attended to business.

We couldn't have asked for more stunningly gorgeous weather. The temperature was ideal--70's in the sun, even cooler in the shade--and the sky was perfectly clear and blue. Here's a shot of downtown with some of the Taste of Chicago booths in the foreground:


Once we arrived, we had a long walk from the parking garage to our location for the afternoon. The chess event was held in the designated "Family Village" area, so we were close to the rides as well as to a "Fun Time Stage" with musical entertainment for children and families. The booth to which we were assigned is one which features daily events of interest to children; before we took up residence yesterday the previous occupants were making chocolate bears. In the photo below, the Illinois Chess Association logo is pictured hanging below the larger sign for the booth. In front of the booth are passers-by who have already started playing chess!


Once we arrived and set up, Trevor settled in for some games with both his fellow Warren scholars and anyone else who happend by that wanted to play.

He also took time to offer instruction to some young players.

While Trevor played chess, Caitlin did some reading under a nearby tree and studied the Taste of Chicago guide in an effort to choose a few foods to sample.

Then Caitlin and I braved the crowds for a few tastes. If this is what it was like yesterday, I can only imagine the crowds on July 4! Sometimes the crowd in the booth area was so thick it was hard to move.

We aren't much on carnival rides, but the Ferris wheel still makes a nice picture!

Street entertainment included robotic dancers covered in silver paint and this clown lady doing balloon art:

After Trevor completed his chess responsibilities, we did a bit more tasting. Among the three of us, we sampled such items as steak tacos, fried cheese, toasted ravioli, sweet potato salad, hummus shirazi (herb-tomato-cucumber salad over a bed of hummus), samosas (crisp patties with potatoes, peas, coriander and spices), Cajun meatballs & eggrolls (the eggrolls were filled will collard greens), spinach pizza, pizza bites, pierogies (semi-circular dumplings filled with potato, chicken or spinach and topped with sour cream), lemon ice, and chocolate granache. (It helped that the Warren scholars and their families were able to purchase discounted tickets.) We capped our day with a photo in front of Buckingham Fountain:

It is my selfish desire that Trevor remain a part of the Warren Program for years to come so we can maintain a good excuse to keep on doing this!

3 comments:

Mumme Mom said...

Oh that sounds like a great day! The pictures are beautiful.

chessdad64 said...

Cheryl:

Great report and great pics! For lots more pictures check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnnyscars/sets/72157600611152268
courtesy of John Vela.

It was good to see you and the kids. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

all the best,
Brad

Andi said...

Hi Cheryl,
What a lovely report and terrific photos! It was a beautiful day! I was really glad Trevor was able to participate.

--Andi