On March 6, nearly 200 meeting planners, event producers, experiential design experts and vendor partners gathered at Loyola University Chicago’s Damen Student Center to talk cutting edge tech trends, explore new educational topics and connect with friends old and new.
Held at the United Center Sept. 21-23, 2018, the Laver Cup—a men’s tennis tournament pitting six top European players against six of their counterparts—marked the first time this major event has been held in the United States. Total event attendance was more than 93,000 people, with fans from around the world traveling to Chicago for an unforgettable experience with the game’s best players. “The Laver Cup was a huge win for Chicago,” says Kara Bachman, executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission.
Lucky Strike served as the host venue for the third-annual Hospitality Fest, which gathered more than 750 meeting and event planning professionals for a four-hour evening event. With the goal of spotlighting options across Chicagoland for holiday parties, 74 table sponsors showcased ideas for F&B, event spaces and corporate activities. The teams and volunteers wore bowling shirts with presenting title sponsors’ names on the front to create a fun, laidback atmosphere.
Nearly 200 guests convened in the lobby of the stunning Builders BLDG at 222 N. LaSalle in Chicago on May 10 for the Illinois M+E Best of 2018 readers’ choice awards. DJ D. Jones spun upbeat tunes, while MDM Entertainment provided A/V and Tag Prints hosted a photo booth. The event was co-hosted by DineAmic Group and Builders BLDG and emceed by one of the magazine’s associate publishers, Susan Rose. It was a night to remember for all the Best of winners and finalists and Hall of Fame recipients.
Nearly 500 people from Illinois and the greater Midwest gathered at the stunning Palmer House Hilton Feb. 26-28 for the annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism. During the three-day event, attendees had the chance to hear from key industry officials, including an opening keynote from Carroll Rheem, vice president of research for Brand USA; a luncheon talk on crisis management and tourism security from Dr. Peter E. Tarlow, founder and president of Tourism & More; and an address by Cory Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, at the closing breakfast.
Guests came together for two important reasons at Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center last October: to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the 007 James Bond franchise and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The first annual “En Noir: A Casino Royale Masquerade” event was designed to benefit Imerman Angels, a one-onone cancer support community that pairs a cancer fighter, survivor or caregiver with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer.
Members of The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) placed their bets for a good cause this summer at the 11th annual Pony Up for the Kids fundraiser event, held at Arlington International Racecourse. Proceeds went directly into a fund for the IHLA Educational Foundation Scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to local students pursuing degrees in hospitality. (See the latest winners on page 45.) To date, the program has awarded $400,000 to deserving students. Guests were able to enjoy the racecourse’s private Beverly D.
February marked the 20th anniversary of the Grand Chef’s Gala, an annual black tie event that benefits the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This special “Platinum Affair” continued the tradition of the popular event, which, in addition to being a major fundraiser, is also regarded as one of the city’s best culinary gatherings. It draws upwards of 50 noted chefs and mixologists such as Blackbird’s Ryan Pfeiffer, RPM Steak’s Doug Psaltis and Monteverde’s Sarah Grueneberg, who provided signature plates and cocktails.
In September 2016, SpringHill Suites by Marriott kicked off its “Art of Local” series, a redesign of a similar program that began in 2010. The idea behind the North American platform is to bring together some of the best creators in each destination city into hotel lobbies as a way to provide busy patrons the opportunity to explore the local art scene. Each event is different and can include visual artists, culinary whizzes, skilled crafters and live performers.
While you can always view the city of Chicago from one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Willis Tower, there’s a new way to see the vast landscape—from a helicopter hovering 100 stories high. Chicago Helicopter Experience is the latest option for meeting and event professionals to take their event to a whole new level. Guests can enjoy dinner, cocktails and entertainment before taking flight on a unique day or night tour that also provides a little history.