The giant six-pointed star may have scaled the Hyatt Regency Chicago for the final time last year. According to a post on the Chi-Town Rising Facebook page, the New Year's Eve celebration is not scheduled to return to ring in 2018.
Organized by local consulting firm Arena Partners, Chi-Town Rising events were held on New Year's Eve in 2015 and 2016, centered around a concert, the ceremonial raising of a 70-foot star and a fireworks display on the Chicago River that were televised locally. Both editions of the event had corporate sponsors that helped defray the costs of production, but Arena Partners CEO John Murray made it clear that the first Chi-Town Rising event was a money-losing proposition.
Each edition of the celebration came with growing pains, befitting an ambitious public event that strived to match the grandeur (and national attention) of New York City's ball drop in Times Square. In 2015, organizers promised that access to the event's main stage would be free to the public, before going back on its word and selling $150 tickets to the area and setting up a free viewing area hundreds of feet away across the river. In 2016, the festivities were, in fact, free and open to the public, but ratings for the broadcast of the event were beat out by ABC7's New Year's Eve countdown.
While we were never fans of the event's cheesy name, we couldn't help but admire Chi-Town Rising's ambitions to become the city's defining New Year's Eve event. If anyone is hoping to capitalize on the sudden void in Chicago's New Year's Eve party landscape, we'd recommend holding an indoor event (standing outside in December is no fun) that leaves the dropping (or raising) of giant objects to our friends in New York.