Green Tie Ball Review -XVII Years of Giving

The green carpet

Recently, I had the great pleasure of attending the Green Tie Ball, one of Chicago’s premier social events. In its seventeenth year, the ball was held on Saturday, September 13, at the huge Chicago Scenic Studios located at 1315 N. North Branch Street. Chicago Scenic Studios is a 100,000 square foot space that provided a perfect arena for the Green Tie Ball’s themed event.

Salsa, Brazilian music

Each year the Green Tie Ball adopts a theme; past years have included “The Emerald City,” “Candy Land” and last year’s “The Garden of Good and Evil.” This year the theme was “Greenivale–where green meets carnival” – and it was a fantastical mixture of sights and sounds influenced by world-renowned celebrations such as New Orleans’s Mardi Gras and Brazil’s Carnivale.


While the Green Tie Ball has become one of the most outstanding semi-formal events of Chicago’s social scene, it is also a fundraiser benefiting Chicago Gateway Green. Chicago Gateway Green is “dedicated to greening and beautifying the expressways, gateways, and neighborhoods of Chicago . . . plantings improve the environment and quality of life for millions of residents and visitors.”

The VIP area

My date and I started out by following the VIP green carpet to the Pre-Gala Private Cocktail Reception. The private VIP area had great live entertainment, a select list of complimentary spa services such as chair massage and makeup touch-ups from Mario Tricoci Salon and Spa, unusual dessert creations from top Chicago pastry chefs and a live auction including items such as a “Cubs’ fan dream day” and the “Ultimate Home Dinner Party for 10.” The VIP area was a great place to relax and catch our breaths. We returned to it often throughout the evening.

The party begins

Eric and Kathy from the Mix Morning Show on Chicago radio 101.9 FM the Mix kicked things off by welcoming all of us to the event. Eric commented on the new indoor venue. In the past, the Green Tie Ball was held outdoors; the Studio was a blessing because the night of the ball Chicago was in the middle of two days of record-breaking rain. Humidity might have been an issue for some, but I would take the humidity over being out in the rain any evening! Eric and Kathy introduced the VIP crowd to the executive committee, including co-chairs Julie Darling and Jon Cotay who gave great speeches about the event and what the Chicago Gateway Green Then the live auction began.

Eric and Kathy

The main event began at 8:30. The Drum-Matics Bucket Boys supplied some excellent New Orleans marching band flair as they ushered us in through a dark hallway. We were greeted with fabulous lamb chops from Gene & Georgetti’s steak house and mini hot dogs from American Dog, tastes of what was yet to come. As the room opened before us, I saw the Horse Shoe Casino charitable gaming area to my left and heard the sounds of a major party getting started. While my date went to explore the raffle prizes, such as a 2 year lease on a Toyota Prius, I was tempted to check out the gambling (all losses going to Chicago Gateway Green), but I decided to leave that up to the more experienced. I grabbed a drink from one of the massive bars dotting the area and squeezed through the crowd to see what other restaurants, such as Mon Ami Gabi and Joe's Seafod, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, had in store for my lucky taste buds.

The Bucket Boys

After I had as many little sample plates as I could carry, I met up with my date, and we found one of the few tables to sit and eat our mini-plate feast! We chose the perfect table to “make camp,” close enough to see and hear all the action with out feeling confined or uncomfortable and great for people watching.

Fantastic outfit

There was a lot to watch! Glamour was the name of the game and Carmen Marc Valvo, Louboutin, and Marc Jacobs were just some of the players. As this was a semi-formal event, party-goers had a little more fun with their fashion than if it had been straight black-tie; gone were the stuffy tied-up tuxes and ball gowns and in their place was a dazzling color palette (including, of course, lots of green) of flirty dresses and fantastic suits.

Julie Darling

The entertainment started with explosive energy, color and movement as Edilson Lima with Samba One took the stage, giving the night a real carnival flair with music and gorgeous costumes. Other performances such as an aerial act by Almas Meirmanov and Lijana Wallanda from the Actor’s Gym didn’t stop all night and kept drawing us back to the stage.

Flying trapeze

As many good things do, the night came to an end much too fast, and the delicate flower that I am began to wilt in the increasing heat and humidity. We made our way to our car, tipped the valet and started home. As we drove through the rain, I looked out at the tall pampas grass, trees, and summer’s last flowers dotting the expressway embankments and realized that I had never really, really seen them before. This time, I saw and appreciated the difference the plantings made. As I rested my forehead against the cool glass of the passenger-side window, I smiled, realizing that not only had we had a wonderful time, but we also had helped to make a difference.

Delicious food from Joe's

Hot dogs - the best


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