Glencoe, IL - The Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society raised $250,000 at its ninth annual All Aboard! celebration early in December. Proceeds will support fellowships for the plant biology and conservation graduate program, a collaboration between the Garden and Northwestern University.In keeping with the colorful “Aurora Borealis” theme, Chicagoland design agency Event Creative bathed the Garden’s Regenstein Center in the magical pink, blue and purple hues of the northern lights, creating ambiance laden rooms dubbed Polar Brilliance, Frozen Radiance and Arctic Incandescence. 

Co-chaired by Ann Balusek and Glo Rolighed (both of Winnetka) the event began with cocktails served throughout  the popular seasonal exhibition, Wonderland Express. The show features dazzling topiary trees, surprising combinations of holiday plants, and garden-scale trains winding past 80 charming miniature replicas of Chicago-area landmarks. 

Limelight caterers served seasonal appetizers including beef carpaccio, mini potatoes with caviar, blue cheese pizza with chestnut honey, and goat cheese dates with caramelized onions. The dinner menu featured a “Bright Lights” winter salad of mixed oranges, Hungarian apple soup, braised beef short ribs and slow-roasted wild salmon, and a mini flaming baked Alaska with spun sugar accent.Raffled during the evening was a pontoon boat ride with Bob Kirschner, the Woman's Board endowed curator of aquatic plant and urban lake studies and director of restoration ecology.

The Woman’s Board is in its fourth year of “Growing the Future,” a $1 million pledge to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  All Aboard! Aurora Borealis was sponsored by Beam Suntory, Bonterra Organic Vineyards and Lagunitas Brewing Company.
Guests enjoy the All Aboard! Gala's Arctic Incandescence Room, one of the three dining rooms with intriguing Aurora Borealis themed decor for the occasion (photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden).

Chicago Horticultural Society Raises $250K in Annual All Aboard! Gala