The International Playboy Bunny Reunion, 60th anniversary of The Playboy Club and me

I go back in the “hutch” for Playboy’s long anticipated International Playboy Bunny Reunion here in Chicago. This weekend-long event is also a celebration of the 60th anniversary of The Playboy Club. Read story below:

This party has been a long time in coming and, many times, none of us were even sure it was happening. It was canceled first due to Covid and then other problems arose. But finally, FINALLY, the International Playboy Bunny Reunion is now in Chicago!

I attended the first of a weekend-long series of events last night, the meet-and-greet, which took place at the Knickerbocker Hotel on Walton. As you may or may not know, this was the original location of the Playboy Hotel in Chicago and also near the club at 116 E. Walton. In its earlier incarnation, it was located further down on the same street and even wound up in Lincoln Park (in the old Four Torches building).

I was hesitant to go to be honest. None of us are getting any younger and I really loved remembering everyone the way they were, darling faces and figures in a variety of colorful, iconic Bunny costumes but my curiosity got the better of me and off I went.

THANK GOODNESS!

I felt like I’d gone home again. Yes, we were all a little older but I could still see those cute faces and dazzling personalities that got them hired at the Clubs in the first place and I was back in the “hutch” with my friends.

I was lucky to have two families in attendance, some ladies from the St. Louis Playboy Club as well as from the Chicago Club, since I was a Bunny at both. We fell into conversation like we had just finished work and were sitting around the locker room chatting.

Former Bunnies came from across the country for this event which also celebrates the 60th anniversary of The Playboy Club. Many of the girls were even wearing their original ears which was so cute.

Organizer Diana Peterson did a great job, even offering Playboy memorabilia for sale, many items she had created herself, like pillows with the girls’ Bunny photos, sparkling rhinestone Bunny necklaces, cufflinks, costume cuffs, earrings, pins, masks and even Bunny ears of every stripe and color. She had also created “standees” of the girls’ Bunny photos that were scattered throughout the room and hanging from banners from the second floor mezzanine railing. We were ensconced in all things Playboy and I couldn’t have loved it more. (A friend of mine, Shelley Rosen, Luxe Bloom, even created a standing arrangement of specially treated roses with the Playboy logo which was a popular photo opp.)

Other events over the weekend will include a Guys & Dolls party with a Gatsby theme, comedy club visit, jazz brunch, Lake Michigan fireworks cruise and brunch at the popular Rosebud Restaurant. The celebration will culminate with a dressy dinner at the Drake Hotel on Sunday.

These ladies were the sorority I never had and, as an only child, also the sisters I never had. I can’t wait till Sunday but will be oh-so-sad when it’s all over.

Thanks, as always Hef, for giving me a forever family.

(Story first published in Chicago Star Media)

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