The Chicago Auto Show likes to boast about its immense size, but one of the reasons I enjoy attending this event so much is because of its superior social nature. It might be a frigid five degrees outside the walls of McCormick Hall, but the atmosphere inside is always warm and jovial.
As I sit here in the XM Radio Media Center, reviewing our show coverage via its convenient wi-fi internet connection, the deep tones of Paul Brian's voice boom from his desk at the front of the room. The affable show organizer sets the tone of the entire event with a casual attitude reflected right here on the back of my press badge: "The management of the Chicago Auto Show reserves the right to rescind this credential. Behave and don't be a whiner." When I sent an email last week panicking about my late registration, Paul replied telling me to relax, and advised me of the proper Zen credential procedure. Now that the event is nearly over, it's clear that we all still have that feeling.
Of course, I could be mistaking that relaxation for weariness: James Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band provided the entertainment at this year's "Cars, Stars, and Bars" press function held at the House of Blues (also sponsored by XM). When that event ended early, a handful of adventurous journalists commandeered a bus to the Kingston Mines for several more hours of blues music and brewskies. Unfortunately, our video team had to skip the fun in order to create the show videos that we're posting daily at motortrend.com, so they earned their exhausted look from hard work, not from dancing.
Show sponsor Bridgestone threw a reception to welcome media on the first night, and another shindig to reveal a new advertising campaign ("It's Bridgestone or nothing.") and (of course) tires. Colleague Allyson Harwood was quite pleased that one of them is the Duravis heavy-duty light truck tire she can cover for Truck Trend.
Meanwhile the show draws to a close and auto journalists pack away their press kits. The media room empties as friends promise to meet again at the next show. And even though we know it's only a month or two until Geneva or New York, we know we have to wait another year to celebrate again in Chicago