CHICAGO (WLS) --The black-tie First Look for Charity event Friday night kicked off the Chicago Auto Show, which is expected to draw thousands of car-crazed Chicagoans to McCormick Place.
The annual event runs for nine days starting Saturday.
About $2.6 million was raised for 18 charities at the pre-show gala.
On Friday, media day kicked off with a host of unveilings from variety of manufacturers, including Ford with their revamped Chicago-built Ford Explorer.
"We see more and more people drawn to what we call the Swiss Army life, where they want to invest in products that have versatility, durability and utility," said Cheryl Connelly, of Ford USA Global.
At the charity event, at least one competitor in that class the Jeep Renegade which was given away at the charity event. The other car was the Lincoln MKX.
"To think that the dealers turn over the entire show to these charities, let them sell tickets and keep the proceeds, it's really cool," said David Sloan, president Chicago Auto Show.
The gala featured dozens of food stations and champagne, but also the opportunity to get into the cars.
"The challenge is to get it cleaned up to look perfectly pristine for the attendees to come tonight and see this beautiful show in this beautiful building and see these beautiful vehicles we're going to give away tonight," said Chris Konecki, director of auto show operations.
About 1,000 vehicles are on display at the McCormick Place's north and south halls.