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Let's Get This Party Started!

Posted by: Kristen Rich

Following Mark Bilek around the show floor on the first day of this internship was a tad frightening. Maybe it was the cranes hanging dangerously above my head, the sounds of distant engines revving or the taunting task of weaving my way around the show floor. I couldn’t imagine that just a couple days later, I would be navigating myself from exhibit to exhibit with such ease. I don’t even need to use a map anymore! But then again, I never pictured the mess of crates, trucks and dust becoming the beautiful show room I saw last night at the First Look for Charity.

We had watched the floor anxiously as they prepared for First Look, eyeing the decorations and obviously, all of the food. But even my sneak peak didn’t prepare me for the spectacular event that was to take place. Us girls ran back to the hotel and luckily had enough time to paint ourselves pretty , throw on our dresses and strap on our horrifically painful dress shoes, while the boys, well, just changed. And even though I basically set up camp on the show floor for the 48 hours beforehand, it was almost like I was seeing the show for the first time. Dressed to the nines, all attendees came to see the cars, drink the champagne and most importantly, eat the food. The most difficult challenge (other than trying to walk through the show with throbbing feet) was trying to eat all my food before stopping at another table, where I would receive another plate of tasty food. At the end of night, when all the interns collapsed in the media center, with their complimentary McCormick place slippers and bottles of water, I just couldn’t imagine seeing the auto show in any other way.

And then I did. And it was awesome. Newly-appointed governor Pat Quinn, along with Jesse White and a bunch of other bigwigs cut the ribbon this morning to open the auto show. I was more than excited to see Jesse White, because I have not only been an Illinois driver for six years, but I’m a huge fan of the Jesse White Tumblers. Besides being completely star struck, I was also excited to see my first ribbon cutting ceremony. It was everything I imagined, big scissors and all. And once the ribbon was cut, the floor opened up to the public.

At first, I was apprehensive. I was afraid that the First Look for Charity and all of my behind-the-scenes access had spoiled me and hindered my ability to enjoy the show. But I was definitely wrong. I was sent down to the floor to perform some intern duties and as I did, I sensed a completely different energy throughout the show. People were everywhere, jumping in cars, taking pictures , collecting goodies, running from exhibit to exhibit to see the coolest, fastest and prettiest cars. And even though I had to weave through visitors to find the cars and even though there was a line for Volkswagen’s Caraoke, I had finally seen the show in action and that was definitely the best part of this whole experience.

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