By Jenny Berg Posted August 8, 2012, 11:26 AM EDT
CHICAGO The summer's benefits took advantage of the carefree season with innovative, whimsical tropes. A Chicago fund-raiser for cancer research—a serious cause if ever there was one—had giant balloons floating above highboy tables, while a Las Vegas-area benefit for brain health had bronco riding and watermelon-eating contests. In the Hamptons, guests supported the arts as a unique piece of performance art saw a couple being splattered with blue paint; in New York, a benefit for Citymeals-on-Wheels served appetizers that were unsubtly inspired by the campy classic Jaws.
Here's a look at these and other ideas from high-profile benefits that took place throughout the country and in Canada this summer.