Celebrate Highwood is pleased to welcome back the North Shore Taco Fest and Highwood Days July 19-22 in the Downtown Highwood Metra station parking lot. More than 20 of the region’s most talked about taco-centric restaurants, caterers and food trucks will come together to offer a huge selection of mouth-watering taco creations. Each day, more vendors join the fun leading up to the full-on taco throw down Saturday and Sunday. Now in its third year, North Shore Taco Fest piggybacks on Highwood Days, the City’s most celebrated festival in history, marking its 50th anniversary complete with carnival rides and live music.
“We are going to honor the pioneers at the forefront of our festivals on the North Shore who created Highwood Days 50 years ago,” says Eric Falberg, President of Celebrate Highwood and Highwood Alderman, referring to Lenny Innocenzi, Bill Pigati and Gabe Viti Sr., who were instrumental in Highwood Days success since being founded in 1968. “We have watched Highwood Days grow from a small fair into today’s summer festival lineup with the perfect combination of alluring treats, music, diversity, and culture.”
More than 20 taco vendors, including La Casa De Isaac, Longitud315, Mesa Urbana and Toasty Taco Mobile Eatery will be sharing their unique take on the ever-popular taco while competing for the best taco in town. Attendees can choose from a variety of tacos from the traditional carne asada to the more unique braised short rib and brussel sprout taco or healthy mahi mahi or sweet potato taco, and cast their vote in the ‘People’s Choice Award’ in three categories: Most Authentic Taco, Most Unique Taco, and Best Tasting Healthy Taco. The winner in each category will receive a trophy and bragging rights.
“Last year’s North Shore Taco Fest attracted thousands of taco enthusiasts from all over Chicagoland,” says Falberg. “We will once again tent the entire area to provide cover from the hot summer sun and potential rain and are anticipating an even greater crowd, rain or shine, so be sure to come early.”
North Shore Taco Fest (July 21 & 22) and Highwood Days (July 19-22) will take place, rain or shine, Thursday, July 19 from 4-10 p.m., Friday July 20 from 4-11 p.m., Saturday, July 21 from 11a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 from 11a.m.-9 p.m. The 50th Annual Highwood Days will feature carnival rides and games throughout the fest with unlimited ride specials of $25 per person per day on Thursday from 5-9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
In addition to the wide selection of flavorful tacos, Celebrate Highwood is hosting the North Shore
Taco 5K Run & Walk on Saturday, July 21st, benefiting Highland Park-Highwood Legal Aid Clinic in their effort to provide legal services to low-income individuals in Highland Park and Highwood with housing, domestic violence, and immigration matters.
On-site registration and packet pick up will begin on race day at 7:30 a.m. just north of The Bent Fork Bakery. At 8:30 a.m. Highwood Mayor Pecaro and Highland Park Mayor Rotering will be joined by Highland Park City Council Members and Highwood Alderman to kick off the run at 9 a.m. Equinox will also be leading participants in a pre-race warm up and post-event cool down and stretching. The course will go through downtown Highwood, up along the Lake Shore and through historic Ft. Sheridan. Sprinters, scooters, strollers, bikes, wagons, and pets welcome.
New this year! A family (and dog) friendly kids activity area will be open before and after the run from 8-10:30 a.m. at the Bent Fork park on the corner of Waukegan and Walker. We invite families to enjoy the Taco Run Family Fun Area complete with free tattoos, face painting, snacks, cotton candy, juice and milk boxes, and more. Come for the run and stay for the fun.
Participants will receive a complimentary VIP experience at Equinox Highland Park, included with their registration. Classes will be exclusively available to Taco Fest Run/Walkers and include Equinox’s Signature Precision Running class on June 21st or July 12th from 5:45-6:30 p.m. Participants are also invited to attend an Athletic Stretch and Foam Roll clinic on July 17th from 5:15-5:45 p.m. in preparation for the big day.
Also, all North Shore Taco Fest run/walk participants will receive a goodie bag with run t-shirt and coupon for a complimentary taco and margarita, beer or soft drink. Runners are encouraged to head over to festival grounds after the run to enjoy the live music and fabulous food.
Pre-run registration is open now through July 19. The cost is $35 per runner. Runners can sign up now for this running fiesta. Packet pick up will be on Thursday, July 19 from 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. at Equinox, 799 Central Avenue in Highland Park.
NORTH SHORE TACO FEST LIVE MUSIC SCHEDULE:
Thursday, July 19
5:30-7:30 p.m. TBD
8:00-10:00 p.m. Fool House (90’s Dance Party Band)
Friday, July 20
5:30-8:00 p.m. Mike Zabrin’s Funktastic (Soul, R&B)
8:30-11:00 p.m. TBD
Saturday, July 21
12:00-2:00 p.m. Derrick Procell & the Redeemers
2:30-5:00 p.m. TBD
5:30-8:00 p.m. Soul Commitments
8:30-11:00 p.m. The Piano Man (A Tribute to Billy Joel/Elton John)
Sunday, July 22
12:00-2:30 p.m. Anthony Rosano & the Conqueroos (Contemporary Blues)
3:00-5:30 p.m. Kyle Young Band (Funk/Jazz/Reggae/Blues/Pop)
6:00-8:30 p.m. Deja Vu (One of the Nation’s Most Popular Cover Bands)
Special thanks to Celebrate Highwood North Shore Taco Fest sponsors Chiro One, Fields Auto Group, Goslings Rum, Lunazul Tequila, Master of Mixes, Midwest Gutter Guard, Passanantes Home Food Service, Power Home Remodeling, Renewal by Andersen and Wyndham Vacation Ownership.
For more information on North Shore Taco Fest and the Taco Run, visit www.celebratehighwood.org/highwood-days-north-shore-taco-fest.
ABOUT CELEBRATE HIGHWOOD:
Celebrate Highwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity established in August 2016. Managed and operated by volunteers, our mission is to bring community together to raise funds for local and national charities. Through producing events that cater to the citizens, businesses and visitors of Highwood, our goal is give back, build strong community spirit, and establish Highwood as THE prime entertainment destination for dining, festivals and events on the North Shore. For more information on all of Highwood’s festivals, please visit www.CelebrateHighwood.org, www.facebook.com/celebratehighwood, or call 847-432-6000.