A Starry, Starry Night: Go Behind the Scenes at the 2017 Panini VIP Party (Gallery)

CHICAGO -- On a postcard-perfect Saturday evening in late July, right there in the heart of Chicago's Fulton Market district, the stars came out (and kept coming out, it seemed) as Panini America's sixth annual National VIP Party delivered another one of those remember-where-you-were-when kind of nights that have become the marquee event's calling card. The electricity was palpable. The vibe was vibrant. The memories? Well, they were the kind that tend to last forever.

2017 Panini VIP Party Main

CHICAGO — On a postcard-perfect Saturday evening in late July, right there in the heart of Chicago’s Fulton Market district, the stars came out (and kept coming out, it seemed) as Panini America’s sixth annual National VIP Party delivered another one of those remember-where-you-were-when kind of nights that have become the marquee event’s calling card. The electricity was palpable. The vibe was vibrant. The memories? Well, they were the kind that tend to last forever.

As has become customary, Panini America’s 2017 National VIP Party unfolded amid considerable pomp and circumstance as more than 250 special guests basked in the fairytale brilliance of a fantasy come to life inside the sprawling Revel Fulton Market, a 30,000-square-foot, urban-chic warehouse that seemed tailor made to host what many party-goers called the best Panini VIP Party yet.

A stacked list of special guests — including NFL Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, baseball’s all-time hit king Pete Rose, current and former NBA stars (Kris Dunn, Latrell Sprewell and Glen Rice), Mickey Mantle’s sons David and Danny, and the incomparable Famous San Diego Chicken) — provided enough star power to illuminate the Chicago skyline at least until the next National Sports Collectors Convention arrives in 2019.

All the while, Panini America’s most passionate customers and business partners were enjoying good food, good times, Gold PacksBlack Boxes and unforgettable camaraderie on a night that provided the rare opportunity to spend quality time rubbing elbows and exchanging stories with some of their sports heroes.

Those heroes did not disappoint. Luckily for us, photographer Jeff Haynes was there to document the memorable night for Panini America.

In the gallery that follows we showcase some of Haynes’ work. Enjoy the gallery and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for continued coverage of the 2017 National VIP Party, including a must-see highlight video featuring interviews with all of the VIP guests. Until then, here’s a look at the night in pictures.

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