First Look for Charity auto show gala

Ravi Baichwal Image
Saturday, February 11, 2017
First Look for Charity auto show gala
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Tuxedos and ball gowns graced the Chicago Auto Show Friday night at the First Look for Charity.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tuxedos and ball gowns graced the Chicago Auto Show Friday night at the First Look for Charity. Patrons donated $270 each for the chance to support 18 area causes, all while getting interactive with mobile works of art.

"I have been to the car show and I've been to this charity event and this is definitely the way to go," said Bethany Gordon.

Chicago's auto dealers underwrite the cost of the extravaganza, inviting charities to simply sell tickets to their supporters and keep the proceeds.

"It's an easy sell, everyone wants to come to see these cars. It's a great show, one of the best events we have in the city, and people are excited to come year after year," said Ashley Summers, executive director of March of Dimes.

"We use this as our only black-tie gala, which is wonderful for us and a tremendous savings for the organization," said Carrie Provenzale, executive director of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.

Dealers are pillars of local economies. Beyond getting consumers excited about all the new metal - including ABC7's new Storm Tracker LIVE broadcast vehicle - they said supporting people who make the dreams of other come true is priceless.

"We got 18 charities that are going to receive over $2.5 million and keep all that money right here in Chicago to take care of Chicagoans," said Mark McGrath Jr., chairman of the Chicago Auto Show.

The Chicago Auto Trade Association also gave away two vehicles. The first winner of that draw actually missed their chance to win a car; they weren't in the hall when their number was called.

The charity event also kicks off the public viewing that opens to the general public Saturday morning. There are some one thousand rides on the exhibit floors.

WATCH: Chairman of Chicago Auto Show talks about First Look for Charity

Mike McGrath, chairman of the Chicago Auto Show, spoke to ABC 7's Ravi Baichwal about the First Look for Charity.

WATCH: Getting ready for the Chicago Auto Show First Look for Charity

It's a big night at the Chicago Auto Show. Friday is the First Look for Charity, an elegant, black-tie affair that will raise about $2.5 million for local charities.

The Chicago Auto Show runs through Feb. 20.