Car fans are gearing up to enjoy the upcoming Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place, which runs Feb. 8 to 17.
On Feb. 7, however, thousands of guests will converge on McCormick Place for First Look for Charity, the gala charity event held annually the day before the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public.
"It's one of the largest one-day fundraisers in the city of Chicago," said Kurt Schiele, Chicago Auto Show Chairman. The charity event, which has been around for 23 years, raised $2.2 million for 18 diverse charitable organizations last year.
Schiele gave thanks to auto dealers in Chicago and Northwest Indiana for helping to annually put on the grand affair.
At First Look for Charity, guests have the opportunity to walk massive McCormick Place admiring the sleek, new and innovative automobiles as well as sample food from various restaurants and culinary organizations. Entertainment by artists from varying genres is also on tap.
"It's such a fun party and a wonderful charitable event that does so much good for so many people," Schiele said.
He added he had the chance to preview the food scheduled to be served that night and said guests are in for a treat.
In the culinary spotlight this year will be Savor Chicago, Catered by Design, Bub City, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Devon Seafood, David Burke's Primehouse, Real Urban BBQ, Texas de Brazil, Roy's, Union Sushi and Barbecue Bar and others.
Culinary tables will feature ethnic themes from traditional American fare to Italian, German and Japanese recipes.
On the entertainment roster will be "American Idol" Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze, '80s tribute band Sixteen Candles and The Chicago Six, featuring former Chicago Bears Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael.
Charities in the spotlight this year are Franciscan St. James Health, March of Dimes, Franciscan Community Benefit Services, Misericordia, 100 Club of Chicago, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Catholic Charities of The Archdiocese of Chicago. Catholic Charities of The Diocese of Joliet, Clearbrook, The Cradle Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Illinois Spina Bifida Asssociation, JDRF, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Special Olympics Illinois, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation and Jesse White Tumbling Team.
Schiele said he's honored to be acting as chairman of the show this year.
"My father was chairman of the Chicago Auto Show in 1989 and now 25 years later, I get to follow in his footsteps," he said.
Schiele encourages auto fans to join together for a lavish evening of culinary, car and entertainment highlights.
"The new car dealers throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana are putting on a great event," he said.
FYI: First Look for Charity will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 7 at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Tickets are $250. Visit firstlookforcharity.org