...Parties, parties, parties...I have received so many invitations to attend receptions. lunches, breakfasts, forums and rallies that I need to clone myself.
The parties begin--the first was the Chicago '96 Welcoming Party, featuring a Taste of Chicago. It was located at Chicago's renovated Navy Pier. It was a quarter mile of great music, fabulous food, exhibits and noisy, milling people. The shops were open for souvenir hunters, featuring everything from flashing Clinton/Gore buttons to temporary tattoos. I still can't believe I waited in line for 30 minutes to get a peanut and chocolate covered frozen banana.
Sunday morning, a group of us from Minnesota headed down to the Art Institute of Chicago for their special exhibit, "Splendors of Imperial China." We weren't the only conventioneers who knew this was the last day of the exhibit. There were people everywhere, crowding together to see the exhibits.
Our final stop was at the Columbus Park Refractory for dinner and conversation. We were greeted by music, a drill team, and a proud group of West Side dignitaries. We were directed to heavily laden buffet tables, stocked with beverages, salads, barbecue and desserts. The Chairperson, Leola Spann, and her committee rolled out the red carpet and welcomed us with warm arms and friendly smiles.
Monday morning started with our first delegate meeting. We got the important stuff out of the way--introducing the press, delegates and alternates...handing out gift bags and credentials...and deciding who was going to sit where. Then, everyone scattered to gather later at the United Center...onward now to our business at hand.
One last sidelight. The Chicago police are the happiest, friendliest, most charming police that you could ever meet. They are everywhere, offering directions, greeting people and posing for pictures. They truly are Chicago's finest.
Have they turned this boat around? As we say in Minnesota, "You Bet!" Chicago has gone all out!
Saturday we were greeted by Lake Michigan at its best--sails afurl and blue sky above. Sunday was more of the same with an idyllic time at the new Oceanarium with my "belugas." Followed of course by the necessary trip to the Art Institute. Outstanding!
Having gotten my art and environment fix, ‘twas on to the host party for our delegation waaay out west at the pavilion in Garfield Park. Greeted by a community band made up of the neighborhood children from 2 to 18 playing trumpets blazing jazz and a drill team not to be missed. This area is being reclaimed by its community house by house, block by block, family by family. This event said it all.