• Your guide to classically Chicago gifts for attendees and clients

    POSTED November 21, 2017

Hello readers,

‘Tis the season to start thinking about the holidays, and we are here as Santa’s little helpers with tips on a must-attend event and a couple of classically Chicago gifts for attendees and clients.

First, Association Forum’s Holiday Showcase heads to Hyatt Regency Chicago on Wednesday, December 13. The one-day tradeshow and training seminar brings together the meeting and events community to talk shop, meet new vendors and learn from leaders. 

The all-day event runs 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and includes a CEOnly® Seminar (including a 20 for 2018 presentation on association trends and developments delivered by SmithBucklin President and CEO Matt Sanderson), a Welcoming Environment summit to learn to increase diversity and inclusiveness and a keynote brunch delivered by Robyn Benincasa on the topic of “Leading Through Change.” 

The day also promises networking opportunities, education sessions and access to the exhibitor hall. Full-day rates for CEOs run $280, non-CEOs $160, suppliers $525 and tradeshow only for $25 in advance (rates go up at the door). Register now to reserve your spot.

If you’re looking to get a head start on shopping for clients and event attendees, we have two great ideas that are true Chicago treasures. The Chicago Dogs, the brand new minor league baseball team coming to Rosemont in the spring, opens their first-ever “dugout” pop-up shop on Level One of the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. As of November 23, the shop will be open Wednesdays and Fridays from 3-9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through December 31 and will sell branded youth t-shirts and hoodies; adult t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and hoodies; and a variety of hats for all ages. 

Another favorite gift are iconic Frango Mints. These meltaway sweets have been a part of the city’s DNA since the opening of the Marshall Field department store in 1929. Today the tradition is carried on at a new exclusive boutique in Water Tower Place where you can get boxes of the original chocolate-mint flavor and limited edition seasonal varieties like candy cane, milk toffee and Himalayan salted caramel. The shop is open Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m.-9p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m.-7 p.m., though you can order online anytime. 

Happy planning!

Selena Fragassi

Popular lakeside meetings and events destination The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa has announced the completion of major renovations to Abbey Harbor on Lake Geneva as well as the resort's all-new outdoor pavilion. 

The family-focused, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997. Over the next two decades, it slowly expanded with more properties around the Midwest, moving into the Northeast, South, West and Canada. And this summer, the greater Chicago area will get its first resort from the brand.


VISIT Milwaukee, the convention and visitors bureau for Milwaukee, has redefined the city’s online image for meeting planners and recruiters and captured the spirit of Milwaukee’s people, neighborhoods, events, and attractions through a new website.

“Our research reinforced that people are most interested in visiting cities that spark a passion for discovery and offer the chance to collect unique experiences,” said Megan Suardini, vice president of marketing & communications for VISIT Milwaukee.