BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
The twilight beauty of the Botanic Gardens bloomed for guests at Chicago’s loveliest summer evening al fresco, the Summer Dinner Dance. The evening kicked off in the gardens amongst the lagoons, with guests gathering in a vibrantly lit, flora-filled tent that mirrored its idyllic setting for a seated dinner and dancing, all ending the night guided by luminarias lighting the path to the gate.
Summer Dinner Dance Co-chairs Cassie and Steve Gavin, Gillian and John Growdon, Jane Irwin, and Ryan Ruskin and Michael Andrews welcomed the 400 guests who helped raise almost a $1 million for the Garden that evening, while convivial Botanic Garden President and CEO Jean Franzyk chatted with guests at every table.
The Northern Trust served as the evening’s sponsor, with Food for Thought creating the colorful menu served throughout the night by a gracious team, and Revel and Frost designing the spectacular tent situated on the Esplanade. Maggie Speaks played while guests danced the night away.
The program reflected why the event, themed “color in the garden,” has become so important to Chicagoland’s ever-changing 385-acre treasure:
“At the Chicago Botanic Garden, we believe that beautiful gardens and natural environments are fundamentally important to the mental and physical well being of all people. More than one million visitors come to the Garden each year, and many more benefit from our horticulture, conservation science, and education programs locally, nationally, and internationally. Fundraisers like the Summer Dinner Dance make this possible.”
The well-heeled and eco-savvy host committee included Joe Gromacki, Cate and Rick Waddell, Howard Trienens, Helen and Dick Thomas, Vicky and David Byron Smith, Laura and Robert Probst, Alexandra and John Nichols, Maxine and Tom Hunter, the MacLean family, Rita and John Canning, Jane and David Casper, Karen Harris, Pam and Joe Szokol, Penny and Jim DeYoung, Elizabeth and Tim Dugan, King and Caryn Harris, Patricia and William Hagenah.
Photo credit: Robert Kusel