WASHINGTON--Each NATO Summit attendee--and every journalist covering the world leaders this weekend at McCormick Place--will get a Chicago themed gift bag with food made in Chicago, music made in Chicago, suggestions where to sight-see in Chicago and personal welcomes from Chicago students.
If you get that the emphasis is on Chicago, then you got it right. The gifts are courtesy of the Chicago NATO Summit Host Committee, with the items intended to promote the city.
It's common for host committees of big events--the political conventions, the last NATO Summit in the U.S., --1999, in Washington--to highlight the locality with small gifts with the hope the recipient either lingers for a few more nights, returns at another time or passes along a recommendation about the host venue to friends.
A welcome letter in a souvenir notebook states, "We hope you can extend your stay here and experience some true Chicago-style hospitality. But if you can only sneak away from the NATO Summit for an hour, we thought we could identify a few highlights to make sure you don't waste the opportunity."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, offered some of her Chicago favorites, including checking out Millenium Park and North Avenue Beach, and the walks along the Chicago River.
The bag itself is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and is modeled on a bike messenger bag--to underscore that Chicago is a "bike-friendly" city--designed by JinJa Davis Birkenbeuel, president of Birkdesign Inc. There will be two logos on the bag-from NATO and the host committee..
Each bag contains:
*A welcome note from a Chicago student.
*A Chicago bike trail map.
*Snacks from Chicago companies--Popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops; "Chicago Truffles" from Vosges Chocolates; "Summit Trail Mix" from Fisher Nuts; Quaker Oats Yogurt and Granola Bars; Orbit gum from Wrigley; Milky Way from the Mars Chicago factory and a "NATO cookie" from Manny's Deli.
*A free download of music from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
*The notebook with tourism ideas from Rule and others--and a lot of "fun facts" about Chicago, such as "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama were both born in Chicago" to the lesser known to outsiders, "Western Avenue in Chicago is the longest
continuous street in the U.S."
*Chicago flag pin, visitor guide, map, "Explore Chicago" buttons and materials about NATO.