First Look for Charity:A romantic spin for Valentine’s Day
By Dave Boe
Don’t panic. Not quite yet anyway.
Valentine’s Day is creeping up and a dozen wilted red roses just don’t ignite fiery passions anymore. What’s a stuck-in-a-rut romantic to do????
Jump start a long romantic Valentine’s weekend assisting worthy causes while looking your best and looking at the best new cars the world has to offer.
The annual ‘First Look for Charity’ evening, now in its 23rd year, provides an elegant early peek at 1,000 sparking vehicles prior to the public opening of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Guys, leave the dungarees at home as the dress code remains Tuxedo Mandatory.
As was the case the last two years, ‘First Look for Charity’ now holds court on a leisurely Friday evening starting at 7 p.m. (continuing until 11 p.m.) at the expansive McCormick Place Showrooms including the North and South buildings. For more than a decade, the black-tie gala took place closer to mid-week. Over the past two decades, the evening has raised an eye-popping $38 million for local, worthy Windy City charities. Historically, this night adds up as one of Chicago’s most potent one-night fundraisers.
Two fortunate attendees that night will drive away with four-wheeled door prizes drawn at random: a 2015 built-in-Chicago Ford Explorer crossover or 2015 mid-sized Ford Fusion sedan.
For $250 per ticket, visitors enjoy VIP-like access to the show floor interspersed with scrumptious food stations and Champagne flowing like motor oil. Of the $250, $199 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. Attention last-minute gift-givers; tickets may also be picked up that Friday at any one of represented on-site charities.
This year’s distinctive group of 18 benefactors includes:
The 100 Club of Chicago
Advocate Sherman Hospital
Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago
Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Chicago
Catholic Charities of the Dioceses of Joliet
The Cradle Foundation
Franciscan Community Benefit Services
Franciscan St. James Health
Ray Graham Associates for People with Disabilities
Illinois Spina Bifida Association
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
March of Dimes
Special Olympics Illinois
Turning Point Autism Foundation
Jessie White Tumbling Team
Friday the 13th never felt so lucky.
Open road ahead at annual Auto Show
by Dave Boe
Gentleman and ladies….Start your engines!
All indicators point to an end of the Great Recession, at least from the perspective of rejuvenated automobile manufacturers. Visual confirmation is on display for all to see at the annual Chicago Auto Show.
Numbers continue trending nicely upward. With books closed on the 2014 calendar year, automakers sold a healthy 16.5 million new vehicles in the United States, up over five percent from 2013’s already pleasant 15.6 million cars and light trucks purchased. The 16.5 million units represent the best showing since 2006. Drilling down deeper into these numbers, passenger car sales remained relatively flat. It’s light truck sales that accelerated sales pace, approximately 10 percent for the year.
While major metropolitan cities nation and worldwide host auto shows, Chicago’s is important because of its “common folk” approach. The event caters to consumers, and as such, draws large number of curious visitors thanks to accommodating McCormick Place digs. Both McCormick Place North and South buildings combine for this event, allowing plenty of shared space for cars for 1,000 vehicles and their warm-blooded companions.
Get ready for the return of good-old horsepower one-ups-man-ship. Ford brings to Chicago the limited run rear-drive GT, a sultry two-door high-performance mid-engine supercar with V-6 EcoBoost engine producing more than 600 horsepower. Expect pricing north of $100,000 and a total production run of a few thousand. After a short hiatus, Honda’s Acura luxury brand reintroduces another mid-engine master, the 550 horsepower NSX.
Chicago also boasts several vehicles making global debuts, including Honda’s eight-passenger 2016 Pilot crossover and its up-level sister division Acura showcasing a redesigned RDX, a vehicle competing in the highly competitive compact crossover segment.
Interactive displays combine learning and fun for an entire family. Giant displays cater to families with more seating opportunities. In addition, the displays, including Chevrolet’s, allow folks to recharge portable electronics while resting weary feet. The plug-in ports also are a great segway to plug-in type transports including the second-generation, 2016 extended range and electrified Chevrolet Volt and its all-electric counterpart, the concept plug-in Bolt.
Thanks to spacious digs, the Chicago Auto Show incorporates more legendary indoor test tracks for consumers to thrill to than any other major auto show. Get into the show early as waiting times and ever-growing lines increase as the day progresses.
Kiosks throughout the single floor showrooms allow show-goers to vote for their favorite vehicle or best new vehicle introduction. McCormick Place North and South buildings support free hi-speed Wi-Fi allowing show-goers to share their experiences in real time through social media outlets with friends and family outside the show. Tweet away!
2015 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 14 through Sunday, February 22, 2015
Show Times: 9 am to 10 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 22- 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: McCormick Place, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago
Women’s Day, Tuesday, February 17. All women admitted for $6.
Food Drive Benefitting Safe Haven Foundation: Wednesday-Friday, Feb. 18-20. Showgoers bringing three cans of food receive a $6 coupon off a full adult admission.