Freezing rain and chilly temps were no match for Chicago and Chicagoland yelpers ready to experience their biggest, boldest Yelp Fantasea ever. The world-renowned John G. Shedd Aquarium played host to over 2500 yelpers and guests eager to experience the best of food, drink, entertainment and beauty the Windy City has to offer.
The evening began with a seamless coat check and check-in that allowed Elite yelpers (and guests) to witness a private show of aquatic amazement, courtesy of the animal trainers at Shedd. As if dolphins and sea lions weren’t enough, these Elite yelpers were the first people to greet the newest edition to the Beluga whale exhibit: the baby Beluga. Oohed and awed beyond belief, the Elites got to compose themselves in the swanky Elite Lounge, where they sipped on drinks from Rain and Firefly vodka and dined on Italian sweets from Il Giardino del Dolce. Outside the Lounge, Cage and Aquarium Productions (no relation) were spinning beats and Pyramid Haywire beer quenched their thirst. Big Jones and Dewar’s further enhanced the Elite hour good time.
The second hour of this opulent Open event welcomed the greater Yelp community (and guests) and the upstairs Galleries were ready to feed them. Surrounded by local, exotic, oceanic and continental waterways, some of the best vendors in Chicago and Chicagoland were on hand to feed and tend to the lucky yelpers. Who could be up to such a whale of a task? These FANTASTIC vendors: Starfruit, Turkish Cuisine, Magic Hat #9, Crop Vodka, Cedar Knoll Wine, Santa Marina Pinot Grigio, Domino’s Pizza, Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen, Isla Pilipina, Panna Dolce, Blue 13, Rain Vodka, Firefly Vodka, Dragon Bleu Vodka, Monster Energy, Shedd Catering, and Luscious Layers Bakery.
What is a yelper supposed to do with a full belly and drink in hand? Why, get a make-over, of course. Luckily, guests had a full-on beauty brigade at their beck and call. The hair heroes of Kelly Cardenas, make-up mavens of Sonia Roselli, tanning titans of Ortanic and intuitive ingénue of Now Studio transformed every yelper who entered the Yelp Beauty Station into everything she (and he) could be.
Photographers Rasidel Slika and Matt Ginger captured all the action. You can view pictures here and here. Transporting the guests to the Caribbean were the sensational steel drum sounds of Kent Arnsbarger. The shoe shine superheroes of the Shinettes made sure that the wintery Chicago weather would have no lasting effect on yelpers’ footwear. Sent on their way with goodie bag in tow, every guest had a smile on his face and a pep in her step. Yelp Chicago and Chicagoland really turned fantasea into reality! Read these reviews and see for yourself.
Thanks to everyone who participated and came out! We’re just getting started!
The Yelp Chicago and Yelp Chicagoland team