06/22/2012 04:22 pm ET

Taste Of Chicago: Turkey Legs Off The Menu This Year (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

One of the most iconic treats at the annual Taste of Chicago, to be held July 11-15, will be noticeably absent this year--as will the man behind them.

Tim McGivern, the man behind the giant barbecued turkey drumsticks that go back almost as far as the festival itself, will be sitting out this year at his doctor's recommendation after recent knee and back surgery, NBC Chicago reports.

McGivern began selling turkey legs in 1981 when he owned Great Godfrey Daniels restaurant in Skokie, and continued working with other eateries to serve up the Taste staple after his closed in 1996, according to CBS Chicago.

I’ve spent half my life down there, cooking turkey legs,” McGivern told the Chicago Tribune, adding that he would most miss the excitement of competing for sales, "especially the last few days, when you're going neck-and-neck with your competitors, asking 'How'd you do?' at the end of every day."

The absence of turkey legs won't be the only big change at the Taste this year: the city moved the festival to mid-July, cut the annual fireworks show and shortened the food festival from 10 days to five, trimming the number of participating restaurants in the process. Attributed to declining attendance and rising costs, the city also announced plans to charge admission at musical performances during the fest, and added "pop up" restaurants to offset the higher vendor fees and smaller pool of participants.

A Taste without turkey legs means you'll have to hit more restaurants. Below is the full lineup for the 2012 festival. What's on your must-eat Taste list this year?



Taste of Chicago 2012 Restaurants