For Taste of Park Ridge chief, good festivals make good neighbors
Dave Iglow | Contributed Photo
NAME: Dave Iglow
BEST KNOWN AS: Taste of Park Ridge president
HOMETOWN: Morton Grove
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:51AM
PARK RIDGE — For about 600 hours out of the year Dave Iglow is busy giving back to businesses and residents of his hometown’s neighbor.
The president of Park Ridge’s annual food festival lives in Morton Grove but has volunteered for the past two decades in Park Ridge.
“For as much time as I spend there, I might as well be a resident,” he joked.
Between leadership stints with the Uptown Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, Community Fund and Morning Kiwanis Club, Iglow has also managed to run a business. He became the owner of Pine’s Menswear, 43 S. Prospect Ave., in 1992 after having previously worked in the store for 16 years.
The darling of all his activities, though, may very well be the Taste of Park Ridge, as he has been instrumental in its operations since its creation a dozen years ago.
A nonprofit committee hosts the annual festival, which before 2005 was managed by Chamber of Commerce.
Iglow has always been at the committee’s helm, though he is quick to point out that the work of the Taste is a coordinated effort of many.
“The premise has also been intergovernmental cooperation for the community and by the community,” he said. “We have always stressed teamwork.”
Over the years the Taste evolved from a sidewalk sale behind the Pickwick Theatre to a $110,000-operation on Summit Avenue that boasts two-dozen local food vendors, live entertainment and family-friendly activities.
“We don’t cut any corners,” Iglow said.
Organizers estimate that as many as 40,000 people turn out each year over the three-day period.
This year’s attendance at the Taste, though, ranged between 20,000 and 30,000 due to inclement weather, Iglow said. Despite a few rain bouts July 13 and 14, he considered the event a success.
Iglow lauded the 200 volunteers, various community groups and municipal agencies for their help.
“Everyone did a phenomenal job: the police, the Fire Department, Public Works, the Park District,” he said. “Everyone is really supportive and that’s what it takes.
“If you don’t have volunteers who cooperate, you don’t really get anything done.”
Iglow personally does a lot of the pre-planning as opposed to day-of execution. He and his wife, Robin, focus on securing restaurant vendors, soliciting sponsorships and marketing the event.
He said in the months leading up to summer fest it’s also not unusual to see fellow Taste committee members Dean Patras, Mel Thillens and John Warnimont in his shop on a regular basis talking about the big event.
He thinks of Taste organizers and volunteers as “tireless workers” and “unsung heroes” for their efforts in putting on a community-wide celebration.
“It takes people cooperating with others to do anything in life and in Park Ridge,” Iglow said. “We have a lot of fun.”