23 Aug 2014
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Take an African Adventure at the Top Hat Ball

(Geneva, IL)  The Top Hat Ball, Marklund’s annual black-tie gala, will step into the wild this winter to bring guests on “An African Adventure.” Schedule to embark on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, the jungle and all its uniqueness will be found in the Seventh Floor Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Marriott Downtown, at 540 N. Michigan Avenue.

                Marklund, a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic, residential and educational services to medically fragile children and adults with profound developmental disabilities

                A menagerie of extraordinary entertainment will be presented throughout the evening, starting with the cocktail hour at 6 p.m.

                “Every year, the top hat ball leadership comes up with an exciting theme for our gala event, with the great challenge of making the following year’s event even bigger and better,” said Jeannine Zupo, director of special events.  “Guests should come expectant of a true African Adventure ‘experience’ as they are taken into the safari welcomed by a tour guide into the transformed ballroom and foyer of the Grand Ballroom.  They will get to touch, feel and take pictures with live animals, and see African dancers, theatrical “monkey butlers and a bell and antler herd,” and enjoy African-infused appetizers and drinks in the most wildly decorated space they have ever seen. 

                “This year’s theme will truly take guests into an adventure of a lifetime, transporting them into the wildlife of the Serengeti,” she continued. “We encourage men and women alike to dress in animal print to fully embrace the excitement of the jungle and all we have to offer.”

                As Marklund’s biggest fundraiser of the year, auctions—both live and silent—as well as drawings for prizes will take place during the cocktail and dinner hours. During dinner, Marklund President and CEO Gil Fonger will also present the 2014 Friend of the Year Award to longtime Marklund advocates Bud and Jim Porter. Brothers, the Porters own Porter Pipe in Addison, and have supported Marklund for many years through its annual Golf Classic.

                Dancing to the music of the Chris Sarlas Orchestra will follow the presentation and auction portion and continue until 12:30 a.m.

                Among the highlights of this year’s auction line-up is a 7-night/8-day Enchanting Danube Boutique River Cruise or 8-day Europe itinerary, Disney Animal Kingdom Vacation for 5, and Vail Family Vacation. The collection of items will continue to grow until the day of the event, Zupo noted, and will be featured on Marklund’s website.

                Last year, nearly 600 people attended the event, helping Marklund net more than $385,000. Reservations are already being accepted online at www.marklund.org/tophatball. Tickets are $350 per person. Sponsorship opportunities are available as well.

For information, contact Zupo at jzupo@marklund.org or 630-593-5445.

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