It isn’t over until the last guest leaves with a bottle of their favorite red or white. And what a night it was when the Women’s Board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago held their 11th triennial Wine Auction in February. The night, hosted in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House, welcomed more than 400 guests, who together raised a whopping $1.8 million to benefit the Lyric’s programming.
Summer can bring people together in the most unexpected of ways, but sometimes those events (like family reunions and church retreats) need some more forethought and planning. Here are a few tips to get you started on the path to a successful soiree.
» Decide whom to invite. Will it be immediate family only or do you want to include descendants of your great-great grandparents? As you branch out on the family tree, you will undoubtedly have more people. Don’t exclude part of a branch. You don’t want hurt feelings.
The cows are tipping themselves over at Fair Oaks Farms after seeing how amazing the new Farmhouse Restaurant and Conference Center looks. Located just 90 minutes from Chicago in Fair Oaks, Indiana, it’s the nation’s first large-scale “Our Farm, to Your Plate, In Our House” dining concept with 18,000 square feet of space that can accommodate up to 280 guests for lunch and dinner every day in addition to brunch on weekends. About 80 percent of the menu includes ingredients raised on the farm itself or supplied by a few other local growers.
It’s a kegger at Wicker Park’s new gastropub Barley & Brass—and that means no waiting for your cocktail. Drinks like the refreshing Bitter Fizz are premade and served from a keg that keeps them fresh. It’s the vision of Mixologist Jan Henrichsen, who joins B&B after stints at Fat Rice and Evanston’s Found Kitchen + Social House. Of this citrus specialty, she says, “If this drink was a band, every note would be in perfect harmony.” Of course you can make it to order, too.
Location: Illinois’ capital city sits along old Route 66 and, as such, continues to be a central extension of the Midwest, just a three-hour drive from Chicago and 90 minutes from St. Louis. It’s accessible by air (American, United and Allegiant offer flights) and rail with Amtrak service from multiple cities, making it an easy option to convene with attendees and clients.
“I always say that before I was really gay, I was really Jewish,” laughs Daniel Heller.
Concern Worldwide really took the meaning of Thanksgiving to heart at its annual gala, held just before the holiday last November. The nongovernmental, international humanitarian organization provides emergency response and advancement to many underdeveloped countries of the world with its latest missions including Haiti and South Sudan. The benefit was held at the Wit Hotel and aimed to raise funding for its various programs through ticket pricing, a raffle and live and silent auctions that offered gifts from WXRT, Jet Blue and a number of local sports teams.
It’s a cold and dreary Monday in the city, but Chicago Cubs Director of Ticket Sales Andy Blackburn sounds wide awake and full of pep when he gets on the phone. “The vibe at Wrigley Field just feels different this year,” he says with more enthusiasm than a Monday deserves.
Yes, a true blue Cubs fan.
Seven years ago, the City of Chicago kicked off what has become one of the biggest annual foodie celebrations in the country: Chicago Restaurant Week. The program, which was extended to two full weeks and this year was from January 30 to February 12, offers prix fixe lunches and dinners that have helped to put the city on the map as a culinary destination. It also benefits restaurants by giving them a much-needed boost during the slow, post-holiday period when people dine out less and McCormick Place hosts fewer conventions.
NOW A FAMOUS catchphrase that has come to define the thoughts and behaviors of the typical American citizen, “Will it play in Peoria?” had its beginnings in the vaudeville scene rampant in the central Illinois riverfront town in the ‘20s and ‘30s. As soon as a new act was ready for the stage, it was tested in a Peoria theater to gauge audience response. If it was not well received, it was either sent back for revisions or canceled altogether. If the vaudeville act played well, however, then it was believed to be destined for success.