Gone Fishin' Raffle and Silent Auction

*Purchase Raffle Tickets*

The 14th Annual Big Fish Ball featuring the Gone Fishin’ Raffle and Silent Auction offers participants a chance to win fantastic merchant and artist packages!

Ticket entries are $50 each or three for $125.

The drawing will be held on June 11, 2019 at the Big Fish Ball. You need not be present to win. Winners will be notified.

We invite supporters of Friends of the Chicago River to patronize all of our outstanding and generous in-kind donors. They support the recovery of the Chicago River - please support them in turn.

The Packages.


Keep Calm and Restore

Relax. Unwind. Enjoy. At Fresh Coast Salt Therapy, all you and three of your friends need to do is simply breathe, as you sit back in a zero-gravity chair and float away for a relaxing 45 minutes of Dry Salt Therapy. You’ll unplug and melt your cares away in a state-of-the-art float room designed to deliver the calmest retreat possible, followed by a hydromassage, at Tranquil Waters Float. Your one session certificate is for two people. Take three meditation classes at Chill Chicago, try a month of yoga classes at CorePower Yoga at any of their locations, or create a custom scent just for you at Aroma Workshop Chicago. Top it off with a basket of personal care items from Merz Apothecary and a one-hour massage from Urban Oasis. If you still need a chill space, your one-night break in a deluxe King room at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago should do the trick.

Fair Market Value: $1,511          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Reservations are required, blackout dates apply.


Take a Walk on the Art Side

Immerse yourself in many forms of art, which includes music, film and theatre. You and a guest can enjoy a production at the Black Ensemble Theater and also experience a concert lawn package at Ravinia for a classical concert of your choice; a one-year membership at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art; a one-year individual membership at Chicago Botanic Garden (includes free parking); a dual membership to the Gene Siskel Film Center; a “behind the scenes” tour for up to 15 people at Garfield Park Conservatory; and two tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as Northlight Theatre. Hang photographs by David Wong and Instagram favorite Barry Butler on your walls plus make your own art and learn some new skills with gift certificates good toward classes at the internationally-renowned Chicago Mosaic School, Lill Street Art Center and One River Art Studio, or book a class, activity, or something fun to do through Vimbly.

Fair Market Value: $1,552          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Frames not included for photographs; reservations are required, blackout dates apply.


Ready, Set, New Adventures!

Kick off your adventures by grabbing your new Patagonia gear to head to Chicago Athletic Club to use your two-month pass, with an all-access membership. Give climbing a try with a starter package at First Ascent Climbing Gym. Begin your one-month of unlimited classes at The Bar Method which uses your own body weight, the ballet barre and a few props to create a workout that results in long, lean sculpted muscles. Next up is your fully immersive forest experience—from obstacle course to zip line—in Western Springs with Go Ape!. Head to Wood Dale or Naperville to the inclusive, high-tech TopGolf to use your $200 gift card on anything from the hitting bays to the menu, to upping your game and wardrobe. Meet five friends at 10Pin Bowling to hit the lanes for two hours plus use the $200 certificate for bites/beverages. Take a distillery tour with tastings with same five friends at Koval Distillery. Top it off with ping pong at AceBounce with same (or new) five friends for an hour plus treat them with bites/beverages using your $100 gift card.

Fair Market Value: $1,539          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Reservations are required, blackout dates apply.


Drink Well; Eat Well

Stock your fridge with four cans of Lucky Catfish Lager, a limited-run beer from Half Acre, which was brewed to support Friends’ mission plus award-winning beer from Metropolitan Brewing and Lagunitas. From the hip to the esoteric, you and three guests will gain a new set of techniques to enhance your cocktail prowess after you’ve used your cocktail class gift card from Koval Distillery. Meet ten friends in Wrigleyville and head to Uncommon Ground for a tour of Greenstar Brewery, the first certified organic brewery in Illinois. Next brew stop is Revolution Brewery—stop by the Taproom in Avondale or the Brewpub in Logan Square with a $100 gift card in your pocket. For a special night out, enjoy the signature cocktails and a delicious dinner with a $250 gift card for Fig & Olive. You’ll be treated to cocktails and dinner for two at Michelin-starred Sepia and Proxi with a bottle of wine. Stop by Split-Rail to use your $50 gift certificate and Smith & Wollensky to spend your $100 gift card. After a special night out, enjoy a one-night stay at the Westin Chicago River North to cap off your dinner and drink package.

Fair Market Value: $1,482          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above. 

Reservations are required, blackout dates apply.


Road Trip Essentials

It’s time to leave the hustle and bustle of the city. Your fun begins in Dubuque, Iowa where you’ll enjoy a two-night stay at historic Hotel Julien in a deluxe King room overlooking the mighty Mississippi. Visit the National Mississippi River Museum for a wildlife encounter—from channel catfish to river otters. You’ll have several Instagrammable moments before and after your zip line tour for two at Sky Tours at the YMCA Union Park Camp or at the Vertical Jump Park before heading to nearby Galena for a summer adventure package at Chestnut Mountain Resort which allows you a day of unlimited pleasure on the Alpine Slide Rides, a single rider Soaring Eagle Ride, and a round of miniature or disc golf. There’s time to head north to visit nearby Lake Geneva and enjoy a one-hour Lake Geneva Bay or Sundowner Tour on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Not ready to head home just yet? This package also includes an overnight stay at The Blackstone Hotel and a $200 gift certificate from the Gage Restaurant Group. 

Fair Market Value: $1,470          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above. 

Reservations required, blackout dates apply.


Chicago that Toddlin' Town

Even if you’ve lived in the Chicago area for decades, there is always more to explore. Courtesy of Chicago Electric Boat Company, take the helm of your boat for a private two-hour cruise for an incredible journey on the Chicago River with nine of your friends, or delve into the rich history of the written word at the American Writers Museum. You’re guaranteed laughs at Second City and iO Theater, or grab some popcorn to see a movie at the historic Davis Theater; tour the architecturally important Glessner House; and watch marine wildlife up close at one of the best aquariums in the world with a pass for four to the Shedd Aquarium that includes priority entry. You’ll also receive a one-year family membership to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and two passes for the following: Chicago Elevated, Chicago Detours, and Chicago Crime Tours. We’ll help you get your city exploration off to a great start with a one-night stay at Hotel Lincoln and a $100 gift card from Tortoise Supper Club.

Fair Market Value: $1,584          Purchase raffle tickets

Generously donated by: All those listed above. 

Reservations required, blackout dates apply.



On the night of our gala, Friends will be hosting a silent auction featuring these fabulous packages. Buy it now: you have the chance to purchase any of these items before the event. Buy them online or contact Kim Olsen-Clark at kolsenclark@chicagoriver.org or (312) 939-0490, ext. 19.

*Purchase Your Auction Package Now*

Lowcountry Escape - Weekend in Charleston, SC

Enjoy three nights and four days in a beautiful home in downtown Charleston, steps away from the French Quarter District. This gorgeous two bedroom/two bath home, built near the start of the 19th century, is a great place to relax with a glass of wine or sweet tea—and a great stepping off point for exploring the rich history and beauty of the area. Tours include a private carriage ride with Palmetto Carriage Works, a visit to several historic sites on your walking tour with Bulldog Tours, a tour at the Charleston Tea Plantation to learn how tea is grown and processed, and a chance to see local wildlife up close at the Center for Birds of Prey. Relax over dinner at Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar, and pick up some gourmet treats at Christophe Artisan Chocolatier.

Fair Market Value: $2,431
Buy It Now: $2,600

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Reservations required, blackout dates apply. Transportation not included. Dates set by mutual agreement with homeowner.


Mountain Escape - Weekend in Boulder, CO

Book your flight for two through Southwest Airlines for a weekend of high altitude in Boulder. In the heart of downtown and just a block from the famous Pearl Street Mall, enjoy a two-night stay at the historic Hotel Boulderado, which is a combination of a true historic landmark with Victorian heritage and modern mountain style. Enjoy a historic bus tour of the city with Banjo Billy’s Bus Tour to get the lay of the land. Join a free brewery tour at Boulder Beer Company and enjoy some beers and bites afterward at The Pub on Wilderness with your $50 gift card, or consider taking a private V.I.P. tour with tasting for up to 10 people at MillerCoors' Golden, CO brewery, the world's largest single-site brewery. The tour includes beer flights and samples in the lounge following the 50-minute tour. And you don’t want to forget your $200 gift card from Boulder Chophouse, where they serve tasty cocktails and delicious food.

Fair Market Value: $2,103
Buy It Now: $2,300

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Hotel reservations required, blackout dates apply. To and from airport transportation not included.


Catch a Big Fish Brooch

From the iconic collection at storied Chicago jeweler Trabert & Hoeffer that brought in a remarkable age of spectacular jewelry designs, add luxury and flair to your clothes with a classic 18k gold fish brooch, featuring a diamond eye and cultured pearl accent depicting the fish blowing a water bubble. This adorable brooch puts the finishing touch on your most exquisite looks.

Fair Market Value: $3,200
Buy It Now: $3,500

Generously donated by: All those listed above.


Timeless Fine Art Family Portrait

Have you wondered what you would look like in fine art? Sanders Fine Portraits will make it happen! This package includes a 14” commissioned canvas fine art portrait that combines photography and hand artistry by Highland Park artist Gina Sanders. She specializes in exquisite handmade custom artwork of the finest quality that will be to be cherished and passed down for generations.

Fair Market Value: $3,000
Buy It Now: $3,000

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Framing is not included. Certificate expires three months from the event date.


Air & Water Adventures

This package gives you an amazing adrenaline rush—one that might stay with you the rest of your life! Start with a great view of the Earth from a perfectly good airplane at 9,000 feet above ground before your :30 freefall tandem dive and 5-6 minute parachute flight, with an up-close and personal instructor from Chicagoland Skydiving Center - and includes as Observer Ride for a friends. If that doesn't put things in perspective, you also get a 3-hour private yacht charter on a 40-foot sailboat from Chicago Sailing (good through Sept. 30, 2019). And if adventure makes you hungry, you can enjoy dinner at two restaurants overlooking the Chicago River with a $100 gift certificate for Rivers restaurant and $100 for Riitergut Wine Bar, to contemplate your time living the high life.

Fair Market Value: $1,270
Buy It Now: $1,300

Generously donated by: All those listed above.

Chicagoland Skydiving Center certificate valid through Feb. 1, 2024. Chicago Sailing certificate redeemable through Sept. 30, 2019. Restaurant vouchers valid for one visit only (per restaurant) and expire on June 11, 2020.


Raffle/Silent Auction Rules: Must be 21 or older to purchase raffle tickets, silent auction packages, or win. Prizes are non-transferable and cannot be resold. Winner is responsible for all taxes. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Friends of the Chicago River, a non-profit agency, tax-empt under the provisions of the IRS Code Section 501(c)(3).