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Charity night makes a ‘wheel’ difference

Wed, Feb 19, 2014

Chicago Auto ShowIf nothing else, Chicagoans have earned a solid reputation for lending a helping hand. On Friday evening, February 7, that goodwill intersects at the corner of high octane and high hopes.

The 24th annual “First Look for Charity” evening extravaganza acts as a VIP early access pass to the 1,000 or so sparking vehicles on display at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. The dress code remains Tuxedo Mandatory, contributing an ambiance of elegance throughout the carpeted McCormick Place showroom floor.

As was the case last year, “First Look for Charity” now holds court on a more convenient and conducive Friday evening prior to the show’s Saturday public opening. For more than a decade, the black-tie gala took place closer to mid-week.

Over the past 22 years, the evening has raised an eye-popping $36 million for local Windy City charities. This year’s goal is to add $2 million.

For $250 per ticket, visitors enjoy unobstructed access to the showcase floor and food stations with a Winter Olympics theme. Of the $250, $198 is deductible as a tax donation. Advanced tickets for the event may be purchased online at chicagoautoshow.com and clicking the “First Look for Charity” link or by calling 630-495-2282. Tickets may also be picked up the night of the gala at any one of the 18 represented charity rooms.

2014 Toyota Corolla LE

2014 Toyota Corolla LE

As in years past, attendees have the opportunity to drive off with one of two grand-prize giveaways: a 2014 Toyota Corolla compact sedan or a 2014 Toyota Highlander crossover. The event runs 7-11 p.m.

This year’s distinctive group of 18 beneficiaries includes:
-The 100 Club of Chicago
-Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago
-Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Chicago
-Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet
-Clearbrook
-The Cradle Foundation
-Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
-March of Dimes
-Misericordia
-Franciscan St. James Health
-Illinois Spina Bifida Association
-Special Olympics Illinois
-JDRF
-Franciscan Community Benefit Services
-Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
-Ray Graham Associates for People with Disabilities
-Turning Point Autism Foundation
-Jessie White Tumbling Team

2014 Chicago Auto Show at a Glance:

-Adult Tickets: $ 12
-Senior Citizens 62 or better: $6
-Children 7-12: $6
-Kids 6 and under: Free
-Show Days: Saturday, February 8 through Monday, February 17
-Show Times: 10 am to 10 p.m.
-Monday, Feb. 17- 10 am to 8 p.m.
-Women’s Day, Tuesday, February 11. All women admitted for $6.

Food Drive Benefitting A Safe Haven Foundation:

Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 12-14. Showgoers bringing three cans of food receive a $6 coupon off a full adult admission.

Location: McCormick Place, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago

Discount tickets redeemable for $6 off full-price adult WEEKDAY admission may be picked up (while supply lasts) at participating Chicagoland new-car dealerships, Chicagoland Fifth Third Bank locations, participating Shell gas stations when purchasing a $10 fill up along with many State Farm Insurance agents.

Auto Show turns up the glitz

The Chicago Auto Show has warmed the hearts of Chicagoans for more than a century. Chicago’s longevity is traceable to its consumer tilt: it’s a show catering to the general public, not a public relations exercise for the auto manufacturers and their public relations cronies.

2014 Toyota Highlander

2014 Toyota Highlander

Last year, automakers sold 15.6 million vehicles in the United States, up a healthy 7.6 percent from 2012. These numbers represent the best annual effort since 2007. For 2014, forecasts are even stronger with strong product in the pipeline.

For the last 32 years, Ford’s full-size, light-duty F-150 pickup truck ranked as the best-selling vehicle (car or truck) in the U.S. Not content to sit idle, Ford showcases a lighter-weight 2015 effort substituting aluminum parts for traditional steel body panels, improving fuel economy in the process.

While internal combustion cars continue dominating dealership sales, expect a wide range of alternative-powered technology including pure electric, hydrogen and compressed natural gas.

The Chicago Auto Show incorporates more indoor test tracks for consumers than any other major auto show. Returning this year are Jeep’s off-road course, Chrysler’s performance stop and Toyota’s proving grounds. Also back is the opportunity to test vehicles on public roads outside McCormick Place.

The public show opens on a Saturday, running 10 days and taking advantage of the Monday, President’s Day Holiday celebration

Dave Boe
StreetWise Contributor

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