Ask any Chicagoan, and he or she has no doubt heard of Ravinia, the music venue in suburban Highland Park that hosts outdoor concerts and performances every summer. The sprawling lawn at Ravinia welcomes guests, encouraging them to bring outdoor blankets, chairs, tables, baskets of food, and bottles of beverages to whet any whistle. It is the picnic elevated to high art.
Take that picnic experience and laid-back “vibe” and mix it with a spirited trivia game, and you get Travinia, our popular special fundraiser, which we first hosted in 2012.
Traditionally held in mid to late winter, when people are fed up with the seemingly never-ending Chicago cold, snow, and ice, Travinia offered our friends and supporters a chance to get out, head to St. Mary’s Home, set up and warm up in our auditorium, and put on their thinking caps. Over the course of three hours, they would test their knowledge of obscure, random, or useless facts and impractical and unimportant information, all the while munching on “brain food” and imbibing some fortifying beverages.
Because of the COVID pandemic, this event had been hiatus for the past couple of years. But in 2022, Travinia came back! And this year, the event moved outdoors to our garden, much to the delight of our guests.
Tables and chairs of all description and size came together to accommodate the teams of eager contestants, whose team names included We’re No Dumbo, The Justice League, The Generation Gap, and The Lollapalosers.
Returning as quizmaster, Rex Albrecht challenged our contestants with seven rounds of questions. As difficult as the questions were, guests were laughing, chatting, eating, and drinking. Some good-natured banter could be heard between rounds and between teams.
After the three hours and the hotly contested rounds, The Generation Gap was declared the winner, and The Lollapalosers were rewarded for “best team name.” Not that any of that mattered. Everyone jumped up to start dancing, even a couple of the Sisters joined in!
With its relaxed backyard ambience and picture-perfect summer weather, this Travinia felt extraordinarily special, a truly Ravinia-like outdoor experience. So enjoyable was this midsummer evening, many attendees suggested Travinia should remain an annual outdoor event.