Ravinia was recently abuzz with preparations for the 2008 Gala Benefit Evening. Everyone seemed to be working on last minute details to make the night a huge success. I really did not know what to expect, but I did know that I would have the opportunity to get all dolled up which is one of my favorite things to do.
The event is all made possible by the Ravinia Women’s Board, which is made up of 132 talented women from all over the Chicagoland area who are essentially ambassadors for the festival. The members’ goals are to enhance the park experience for everyone and raise money for Ravinia, which is not-for-profit. They host themed nights like the Latin Dance Night, advocate for amenities like the Ravinia Festival Gift Shop, help fund beautiful artwork around the park, continue the festival’s commitment to education and outreach, and so much more.
The Gala co-chairs Bobbie Besant Denison and Claudia Stewart Lane and Women’s Board chairman Jane Casper had been tirelessly planning and organizing this past year to create the fantastic showcase of the park. With Kehoe Designs constructing the romantic décor inside the tent, Jewell Catering prepared exquisite food, and Kiri Te Kanawa showcased the evening performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with James Conlon conducting.
The 1,000 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception sponsored by BMO Capital Markets, while the dinner was sponsored by Aon Corporation, and Howard Stotler sponsored the evening concert for the second year in a row for the largest event hosted by the Women’s Board. Overall the Gala raised about $1.2 million which will help fund Ravinia Festival’s education and community projects.
Words cannot describe the beauty of the night adequately, so I have attached some pictures below to help recreate the grand celebration of Ravinia Festival.