There were surprises around every corner at the 22nd Green Tie Ball, themed "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," on Sept. 7. A crowd of approximately 3,500 enjoyed tastings from more than 50 top restaurants, colorful candy stations, whimsical decor and live entertainment on the grounds of A. Finkl & Sons, a former steel factory that was transformed into a Wonka wonderland.
Actors dressed as characters from the book mingled with guests for photo ops as a bubble-blowing mobile DJ performed. VIP ticket holders relaxed in the Oompa Loompa lounges and inside green-lit tents, and Rivers Casino hosted charitable gaming with winnings going toward a raffle benefiting Chicago Gateway Green.
Many of the participating restaurants had fun with the Wonka theme, including Old Town's The Refinery. Pastry Chef Hetty Arts enclosed five golden tickets inside her dark chocolate fudge bars that entitled the winners to gift bags. Teens from the After School Matters program presented an elaborate multitiered cake inspired by the evening's theme.
DJ Justin Jacobson kicked off the entertainment, spinning hot mixes as dancers performed tightly choreographed routines. Later, co-chair Lee Golub hit the stage with his band, Dr. Bombay. The headliner for the night was SNDCLSH, a DJ duo consisting of Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco and Sky Gellatly. For the last song, Fiasco rapped his hit "The Show Goes On" as confetti rained onto the stage.
"Windy City Live's" Valerie Warner and Ryan Chiaverini emceed the event. Chicago Gateway Green is a nonprofit organization dedicated to greening and beautifying the city's expressways and neighborhoods.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers .
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