• 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

If Willy Wonka planned a meeting break, this is what it might look like: blueberry treats that can be plucked from the walls, cheesecake pops dipped in Nerds, everlasting gobstobbers in every flavor and strawberry (or snozberry?) smoothie shots. This sweet idea comes to life complete with an accompanying soundtrack at LondonHouse Chicago this fall, thanks to Executive Chef Jacob Verstegen, who was inspired to create the package after an interactive dining and music experience at Elizabeth Restaurant.


When it comes to small meetings in Chicago, planners have a lot of options.


The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau (QCCVB) recently announced that Dave Herrell has been named the new president and CEO, with an official start date of October 8, 2018.