Taste this, Chicago
Nothing can compete with big cities when it comes to mobilizing people at the slightest excuse. Not to say that a festival dedicated to food is slight- it no doubt weighs itself heavily upon a city, clogging its streets, its arteries, its trash receptacles. Still, wading through thousands of people for the simple attraction of purchasing an overpriced polish sausage, and eating it while walking in a sea of sweaty, moving humanity in the sun is testament to the power of large cities. Could it possibly hold this allure if not for its impressive scale? Would you try to make tacos for ten thousand? It seems intriguingly communal, a mite nostalgic even (think Coney, or for us Mass folk, Riverside.) It's strange, this need to invent a reason to come out and look at each other again. As an event, I would say it's a fail- the elevated risk of botulism, the trash factor, the asshole who made me get buffalo sauce on my pants- these lead to an overall crummy review. But despite the total headache of navigating this rowdy rabble, (why do I always put a positive spin on my rants???) there was something perversely appealing about it, otherwise, why were we all there? It wasn't for the quality of the food or because we love elbowing our way to the next booth with the (empty, Sorry Todd) promise of a German pretzel. Perhaps it's the lure of the crowd and the pleasure of knowing that everyone else, like you, will line up for the same slice of pizza they could get down the street, just for the idea that in collusion something is suddenly happening.