Dear Melrose Park Neighbors and Friends,
The Taste of Melrose Park is our Village’s premiere family affordable event that attracts thousands of attendees from the Chicago area and beyond. Unfortunately, this year, after seriously weighing the pros and cons of hosting the 2021 Taste of Melrose Park, I had to make the difficult decision to postpone this year’s 3-day event for the following reasons.
Health and Safety Concerns
In 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the country it was a much simpler decision to forgo the Taste of Melrose Park. However, this year, with the advent of Covid vaccines, we were cautiously optimistic that we would once again host the Taste, but with the Covid numbers in a constant state of flux it soon became apparent that this would not be possible.
My Administration and I have made helping residents to safely navigate the Covid pandemic our number one priority. We distributed hand sanitizer and face masks to every Melrose Park residence and at a drive through event. We hosted multiple free Covid-19 testing and vaccination days while conducting an aggressive social media campaign about Covid Safety.
Taking all this into account, I felt it would be counterproductive to our anti Covid-19 efforts to host an event that draws over 100,000 people, who most likely would not be practicing social distancing or wearing face masks while enjoying all the tasty foods. I would never consider hosting any event if there was even the slightest risk of any attendant becoming fatally ill.
Our Sponsors Are Financially Hurting
It is no secret that our local businesses have suffered great economic losses over the past year. The State of Illinois estimates one third of Illinois businesses have shut their doors. The Taste of Melrose Park could not be held without the generous financial support of our sponsors who underwrite 90% of the costs associated with this event. I felt that at this point in time to ask these business owners to donate 500 or 1000 dollars when they have endured such great economic hardships would be wrong.
To put on an extravaganza of this proportion, planning must begin in earnest around December. There are bands to hire, food vendors to engage, volunteers to recruit, food tents, chairs, and other equipment to rent, to cite just a few of the things that must be coordinated to ensure a wonderful event. Since much of this preparation has had to be put on hold due to the volatility of the Pandemic, I felt that it was really too late in the game to properly prepare for an event that lasts three days and hosts over 100,000 attendees. I will never allow the Taste of Melrose Park to not live up to the high standards we have set over the years.
In conclusion, I feel confident as vaccines continue to roll out, that next year’s 40th Taste of Melrose Park will be our best event ever. Not only will we celebrate the delicious assortment of delicacies, but we will revel in the fact that we can once again gather as a community. If you have any questions concerning the Taste of Melrose Park, please call Peg DiFazio at 708-343-4000 ext.4448.
Mayor Ron Serpico
Last modified: April 8, 2021