By Bob Bong
Palos Park’s favorite country singer Abby Kasch will be the headliner at Friday night’s opening of this year’s Taste of Orland Park at the Village Center, 14700 S. Ravinia Ave.
Kasch will take the main stage from 5-7:30 p.m. to kick off this year’s event, which will look different from years past because of precautions in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s annual event will have limited capacity, socially distant seating pods on the lawn, additional hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout, one-way aisles and increased space in the restaurant areas, more frequent cleaning of indoor facilities and seating areas. Guests will be asked to wear masks.
Taste hours will be from 5-11 p.m. Friday, July 31, from 1-11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, and from 1-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Admission, parking and activities at the fest are all free.
Now in its 17th year, this year’s taste will showcase at least nine Orland Park eateries, various community organizations and bands throughout the weekend. Special events within the fest include Kids’ Day, a car show, a Harry Potter magic show, trivia contest and live entertainment on two stages.
Restaurants scheduled to be at this year’s event include Barraco’s Pizza, Beggars Pizza, Mo’s Chinese Kitchen, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant, Pita, Pueblito, Square Celt Ale and Tradycja.
Returning this year will be the Trivia Contest. There will be four sessions on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Civic Center. Disney Trivia at 2 p.m., Star Wars trivia at 3 p.m., Friends trivia at 4 p.m. and ‘80s Movies trivia at 5 p.m. Pre-registration is highly recommended as there will be a capacity limit. Ten teams of no more than 5 people can register at http://bit.ly/OPTrivia20.
Friday’s entertainment includes Kasch on the main stage, the Pottermania magic show and outdoor screening of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at 6:30 p.m. at the Amphitheater, and Boy Band Night at the main stage at 8:30 p.m.
Saturday kicks off with Kid’s Day at 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 1. Games, activities and programs will be offered for all ages at High Point and Orland Junior High School. Johnny Blas will take the main stage from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Shining Star takes over the main stage from 4:30-7 p.m.
The Veterans Tribute take the main stage at 7 p.m. followed by 7th Heaven at 8:30 p.m. Live Band Karaoke will start at 8 p.m. at the Community Stage.
Sunday’s happenings start with the car show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the John Humphrey Complex. Registration is $20 per car and car owners can sign up from 9 a.m. to noon.
4Cast will be on the main stage from 1-3 p.m. A highlight will be Police Chief Tim McCarthy’s Retirement Tribute at 6:30 p.m.
The Taste will close on Sunday night with its annual Beatles tribute with American English performing on the main stage from 7-9 p.m.
Free parking is available at a number of sites around the Village Center, including the parking tower at 143rd Street and Ravinia Avenue.
Guests may bring one sealed water bottle per person. No other outside food or drink will be allowed into the event. Bags will be inspected at entrance locations.
Complete Taste of Orland Park details are available online at www.orlandpark.org.
More information can be obtained by contacting the Village of Orland Park Recreation Department at 708-403-5000.