The North American International Auto Show Charity Preview hit a milestone Friday night. More than 13,000 guests attended Detroit’s signature black-tie gala at Cobo Center, raising $5.34 million for children’s charities. That made for a record-breaking evening, and pushed the total to more than $100 million raised for children’s charities in southeast Michigan since the event was first held in 1976.
The night began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by the opening of the showroom doors, which revealed this year’s latest automobiles, innovations, concepts and technology. But just as the cars glistened under the lights, so did the fashion worn by industry influencers and car enthusiasts who donned their best for a night among Detroit’s stars.
Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, said, “It’s great to be downtown here; the show gets better every year, more and more technology, more and more exciting, more and more people … It’s hard to beat what you see here. It’s just outstanding.”
Attendees had three hours to wander the showroom floor to see, touch and sit inside some of the most coveted cars, trucks and SUVs – all while sipping champagne and mingling with other guests.
More than 750 cars were on display with sleek and modern presentations. Some brands drew enormous crowds wanting to pose for photos, including the Ford GT, Buick Cascada and Bentley displays, just to name a few. Ford’s Innovation Park was a fun addition this year, which featured an overhead camera for group selfies.
At the conclusion of the Charity Preview, the Steve Miller Band performed in the atrium, playing hits such as “The Joker” and “Fly Like an Eagle” to a crowd that took over the atrium floor and grand staircase. While some attendees made their way to after-parties around town, a few thousand wanted to keep the party going at Cobo Center. These people attended the second-annual Studio 25 afterglow party, which featured the sounds of Fifty Amp Fuse, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, bars, bottle service and a large dance floor.
In an interview with Paul W. Smith for News/Talk WJR 760, Matt Cullen, CEO of Rock Ventures and the M-1 RAIL, said, “The density downtown and the activity downtown is real now; it’s a tremendous time for the city of Detroit. It’s a great night, and when you leave here, you’ve got all these new restaurants to hit and all this activity taking place, and Campus Martius is cranking. It’s a very different city, and a couple years from now, it will be even better.”
There’s a lot of excitement happening, and the NAIAS is just the beginning of a great year of events in the Motor City. Check out our photo gallery below for a look inside Detroit’s night of glitz and glamour.
The North American International Auto Show opens to the public today, and runs through January 25, 2015. For more information, visit NAIAS.com.
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