Shedd’s BLU Summer Party – by Derrick Baker


To coin a phrase, “millennial magic” was in full effect on August 18 as some 900 of Chicago’s philanthropists and social leaders arrived at the Shedd Aquarium for the BLU: Behold the Beauty fundraiser/party to gird the museum’s mission to generate support of the aquatic animal world.

And naturally while all guests weren’t millennials – including this reporter – the fact that BLU was hosted by the Shedd’s Auxiliary Board naturally attracted a young, vibrant crowd that impressed with verve and generosity. Case in point, co-chaired by Nate Fencl, Drew Gravitt and Jessica Morris, BLU raised $300,000 plus to support the Shedd’s conservation efforts for aquatic habitats worldwide and for their locally housed animals.

VIP guests gathered on the North Terrace decked with one of the best views of the city’s skyline, where they imbibed drinks from MillerCoors, Breakthru Beverage, Cutwater Spirits and Constellation Wines.

Mix in cocktails and animal encounters and samples from top restaurants and entertainment from DJ Jacob Bjorge and drag performers and BLU offered the must-have ingredients for millennials.

Guests alternated between viewing a diver in the Caribbean Reef, enjoying glitter tattoos or getting a reusable straw with a donation to join the #SheddTheStraw campaign.

The night also featured the “Beauty Worth Saving” aquatic presentation in the Abbott Oceanarium inspired by “Hamilton” that in turn inspired guests to pony up more than $60,000 in a paddle raise to benefit the aquarium.

Guests headed to the Sick Family Lakefront Terrace for dancing and fireworks – and working up an appetite for late-night food eats from Aurelio’s Pizza and Trader Todd’s. Topping off the night was the after party at Rockit Bar & Grill.

The aquarium’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty, gained more eyeballs and fans during the night as it showcased the breathtaking beauty of aquatic life.


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