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Auto show gala hits full throttle

Dave Sloan (president Chicago Automobile Trade Associatigeneral manager Chicago AuShow) MelissSloan Joe Sloan CyntheRegione attend “First Look for Charity” Chicago

Dave Sloan (president of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and general manager of the Chicago Auto Show), Melissa Sloan, Joe Sloan and Cynthea Regione attend “First Look for Charity” at the Chicago Auto Show

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Updated: March 15, 2012 8:11AM



‘First Look for Charity,” the massive annual soiree held on the eve of the Chicago Auto Show’s official opening day, was the largest in its history, attracting more than 8,000 guests and raising a whopping $2.1 million for 18 local charitable organizations.

Throngs of black-tie-clad folks packed the show floor Thursday night at McCormick Place to sip champagne, snack from themed food stations and check out the newest cars from the world’s leading manufacturers. Many guests were especially excited to see the unveiling of Acura’s new luxury-compact model, the 2013 ILX.

Two lucky partygoers took home donated Cadillacs when the night’s emcee, NBC 5’s Allison Rosati, announced the raffle winners. Jill Nelson became the proud owner of a 2012 Cadillac Escalade, while Richard Onik received a 2012 Cadillac SRX. After the raffle, attention was turned to the stage as Blues Traveler played an hourlong set including its biggest hit, “Run-Around.” Guests sang along and danced to the harmonica-driven tunes.

A ticket to the soiree (chaired by Mary Dolan, an executive member of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association) began at $250. Other notable names spotted in the crowd included Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, reigning Miss Illinois USA Ashley Hooks, 2012 Chicago Auto Show chairman Steve Foley Jr. and Auto Show co-chairman Michael Ettleson.

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Midwinter blues were banished with great food and even better music at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s artEdge, held earlier this month on the museum’s grounds. More than 600 festively clothed partygoers gathered to raise money for the MCA — while getting their groove on to George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic — at the annual benefit.

Familiar faces were everywhere as Chicago’s most prominent business people, philanthropists and art lovers turned out for the party. Co-chairs included Liza and Mark Brooks; Anne and Don Edwards; Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert, and honorary chairs Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule. High-profile guest such as Ald. Walter Burnett and Darlena Burnett, Caryn and King Harris, Sally Meyers Kovler and Jonathan Kovler, Susan and Lew Manilow, City Treasurer Stephanie Neely, and visual artists Nick Cave, Theaster Gates and Rashid Johnson also were present.

The funky fete raised more than $1 million to benefit the MCA’s future artistic programming.



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