Taste of Rockford kick-off starts festival season
By Caroline Rohner, Staff Writer
For the third year in a row, local restaurants and vendors took over the Media Play parking lot in Forest Plaza to celebrate the annual Taste of Rockford festival. The two-day event ran from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday, June 20 and 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, June 21. Large crowds flocked to the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce and First Northern Credit Union-sponsored festival to enjoy good food and warm summer weather.
Patrons had the opportunity to sample a variety of items from the 21 establishments represented. Each restaurant had its own booth and sold a few selected dishes from its menu. The entire culinary spectrum was covered, from Bellamys beef tenderloin to the Smoke Houses featured barbeque ribs to frozen custard at Culvers. The standard brats and hamburgers were also available along with several alcoholic beverages and Pepsi products.
Ethnic cuisine was showcased to spotlight the diversity in Rockford. Der Rathskeller offered the German Reuben roll, while egg rolls and chicken fried rice were served at the Imperial Palace. Additionally, the River District Café provided a number of traditional Greek selections.
While enjoying their meals, festivalgoers were entertained by an assortment of local bands. On Friday, the R&B/funk group, Tres Elliot and the Chicago-based Fabulous Janes took the stage. Country acts, Working Class and Stampede performed Saturday.
Many community leaders, including Rockford Mayor Doug Scott attended the occasion. Mayor Scott praised the Taste of Rockfords evolution over the years and how it has benefited the city. Our local restaurants get to display their wares, and its great for people in the community, but its starting to bring in people from outside of Rockford, too. Its really a great time and gets people in the mood to start the whole festival season.