By Jenny Berg Posted August 6, 2012, 4:34 AM EDT
CHICAGO Year after year, certain events serve as cultural and seasonal touchstones for the people of Chicago. Locals know the holiday season has officially arrived when the German-style Christkindlmarket starts selling spiced wine in Daley Plaza; the ritzy Race to Mackinac, which sees plenty of champagne receptions from sponsor Veuve Clicquot, is iconic of summertime in the city. Here’s a look at the events—including highly produced fashion shows, big-business conventions, and lavishly decorated balls—that keep Chicago’s event industry alive and thriving.
To choose and rank the annual events on this list, we look at several factors, including economic impact, buzz, innovation, and an event's prominence within the communities it intends to serve.