Junior League of Chicago’s Annual Gala: A Night Veiled in Elegance


Emcee, Lauren Petty and JLC President, Ruth Gallagher Nelson Photo Credit: Kathleen Virginia Photography

This year the annual Junior League of Chicago Gala took place at the beautiful Lyric Opera of Chicago and was a smashing
success! This year’s theme was Masquerade Ball, and guests were encouraged to don a Venetian style mask. Upon entering the venue, attendees were greeted by Phantom of the Opera-esque ushers wearing a full cape and mask. You instantly felt the excitement and glamour of the evening. After checking in, guests could snap a quick pic on the step-and-repeat which is always a crowd fave.

Lauren Petty, NBC 5 Reporter, and fill-in anchor emceed the event. Lauren mentioned how excited she was to be here at this event, and thrilled to be supporting such a great organization.

The Gala’s goal is to support the entire League, but this year’s spotlight was on the GALS (Girls All-Star League) committee. The GALS program provides tutoring and activities to elementary school age children, and is housed at Second Presbyterian Church in the South Loop and is open to all children. Pastor David Neff of Second Presbyterian where Girls All-Star League is housed made a special appearance at the event. Our President of the Junior League of Chicago, Ruth Gallagher-Nelson, emphasized how Second Presbyterian has been a fantastic community partner, and how dedicated Pastor Dave has been to the success of GALS over the past two years.

This year, the Gala sponsors included Mercedes-Benz, who provided logoed slippers as take away gifts, which were the absolute perfect choice for the ladies after a night of dancing! Blue Plate Catering provided the delicious appetizers, including prosciutto wrapped melon bites, caprese skewers, a charcuterie cart, cannoli bar, and so much more! Garrett Popcorn continues their strong partnership with the League, and provided to-go bags of the delicious Garrett mix. Tito’s vodka had a station, with Tito’s and lemonade drinks, and fun koozies.


Photo Credit: Kathleen Virginia Photography

Of course the VIP section did not disappoint, with a bird’s eye view of the event. Junior League member, Anika Allen enjoyed most of her evening in the VIP area, saying, “The Junior League of Chicago’s Annual Gala Masquerade Ball was fabulous! This year’s event was by far the best league event I have ever attended, the venue was spectacular as was the DJ and live band.  VIP had ample amounts of snacks, beverages, a great view of the dance floor and seating.  I also loved the Mercedes Benz slippers that were offered, such a great touch!  The committee thought of everything and it made for a wonderful evening!”

This year, the Junior League utilized Handbid for the auction, which is an app where attendees could view all the great auction items on the convenience of their smartphone. Auction items included an overnight stay at the Peninsula, trips to Antigua, Disney World Adventures, and much more.

Green Fourteen band provided the entertainment for the Gala, Chicago’s Pop Orchestra, which kept the audience entertained and on their feet! And as always, the talented Kathleen Virginia Page was there to photograph our great event.

The event takes lots of planning and preparation, and wouldn’t be a success without our gala co-chairs, Melissa Schumacher and Margaret Janovsky. Their team spends hours and hours organizing for this big night, and their hard work paid off. The total attendance was over 350 people! Overall the attendees seemed to have a great time, and enjoyed the Masquerade Ball theme. If you missed this year’s event be sure to attend the next one, as they only get bigger and better each year, and the gala is sure to be a JLC tradition for years to come!

By Caroline Thompson, Topics and Trends Co-Chair, 2016-2017


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