03/07/2012 03:26 pm ET

Taste Of Chicago: Illinois Restaurant Association Wants To Re-Vamp Struggling Festival

The Illinois Restaurant Association has decided to submit a bid to run this year's scaled-down Taste of Chicago, in the hopes of returning the declining festival to its former glory.

“It’s going to be tough. That’s why we made the decision to bid. We wanted to make sure the association was lending its expertise in this transitional year to help the city, if they choose to use us,” association president Sheila O’Grady told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The city announced in December that the 2012 food and restaurant showcase would be shortened to run only five days, from July 11 and July 15, and in January cut the available vendor space down to a third of its previous size.

The reductions were prompted by declining attendance. The 2011 festival drew 11 percent fewer visitors than in 2010, and a quarter less than in 2006 and 2007. Participating restaurants saw their profits reduce 20 percent between 2010 and 2011.

The Restaurant Association has managed the event in previous years, but the City Council's Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation opened the contract up for bidding this year to encourage competition, the Chicago Tribune reported.