EVANSTON, IL—The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) presents its annual benefit Celebrate!Evanston on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. at the Levy Center, located at 300 Dodge Avenue. This year's event offers two unique twists: a cake competition in honor of the City of Evanston’s 150th Anniversary and a movie parody highlighting the Foundation’s many contributions to Evanston. Proceeds support the Foundation's mission of helping Evanston thrive as a vibrant, inclusive and just community.”
The evening features a stage parody of the beloved film It's a Wonderful Life, called “It's a Wonderful (Life) Evanston,” in which “George Haley” is transported to a hometown in which the Evanston Community Foundation never existed. Cast in cameo roles are leading Evanstonians Jan Schakowsky, U.S. representative for Illinois's 9th congressional district, Eric Witherspoon, superintendent of Evanston Township High School, Jay Lytle, former mayor and First Bank & Trust managing director and other surprise guests.
Attendees will be treated to eye-popping pastries as Evanston's finest pastry chefs compete for top honors in a birthday cake design competition. The 15 participating bakeries and restaurants include Bennison's Bakery, Bistro Bordeaux, Foodstuffs, Hewn, Lucky Platter, Oceanique, Tag's Bakery, Quince, Whole Foods and others.
“This special anniversary edition of Celebrate!Evanston aims to bring many community members together for a fitting and fun celebration of Evanston’s first 150 years,” said Benefit Co-chair Julie Captain. “Most importantly,” added Benefit Co-chair Lisa Altenbernd “the celebration raises funds for Evanston Community Foundation's grantmaking and programs to help take the community where it wants to go in the future.”
Celebrate!Evanston begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, music, hors d'oeuvres and the unveiling of an "Evanston Forever" cocktail featuring FEW Spirits, created in collaboration with Found Kitchen. Guests will have the opportunity to sign up for future private parties including a Mexican fiesta dinner hosted by Make It Better food editor Julie Chernoff; a baseball clinic and tailgate party with former Evanston Baseball and Softball Association Commissioner Bill Blanchard; and a night at the symphony including box seats to Chicago Symphony Orchestra's performance of Mahler's 9th Symphony, and dinner at Tesori.
A three-course dinner will be served at 8:00 p.m. followed by a stage program including an Evanston trivia heads-or-tails game and the “It's a Wonderful (Life) Evanston” parody. Sharing the emceeing duties are Evanston residents Christian Farr (NBC-5) and Kevin Mott (ECF Board Member). They will be assisted by members of the Northwestern University Dance Marathon Executive Board. The evening concludes with birthday cake prepared from the design competition, the announcement of the competition winners, and musical entertainment by John Coyne of Absolute Disc Jockey.
Celebrate!Evanston tickets begin at $150. Reservations are requested by October 18th. For tickets and information visit www.evanstonforever.org or call 847-492-0990.
Celebrate!Evanston is made possible with support from Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, Hagerty Consulting, McGuireWoods LLP, BMO Harris Bank, Make It Better Foundation, Nature’s Perspective Landscaping, Inc, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Presence Saint Francis Hospital, Romano Wealth Management, Edward Jones Investments, Evanston Now, Evanston Roundtable, First Bank & Trust, J&L Catering, Mather Lifeways, North Shore Community Bank & Trust Company, Reed Smith LLP, Vinic Wine Company, Whole Foods Markets, Allegra Marketing, Print, Signs, Evanston Chamber of Commerce, EvanstonHost, Inc, Evanston Photographic Studio and Northwestern University.