Event venue

St. James 1868 Event Venue in Historic Church Finally Celebrates Grand Opening

After years of hard work and $8 million, Katie Crowle is finally ready to celebrate the grand opening of St. James 1868, an event venue in the magnificent former St. James’s Episcopal Church, 833 W. Wisconsin Ave., built in 1868.

The opening event, a Derby Party on Saturday May 7, comes two years after the refurbishment was completed and after Crowle’s scheduled opening, which was of course delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I couldn’t be more delighted to host this celebration at St. James 1868,” Crowle said. “The renovation of the event venue was completed when COVID-19 shut down the world.

“It couldn’t have been a worse time to open a new event space, but we’ve been careful, careful and incredibly patient and now we’re ready to celebrate!”

I visited the church in its last days for this story about its history. Four years later, it announced its closure.

I then came back a few years later when Crowle was knee deep in the construction of this article, which shows some of the work in progress.

With the project complete but unable to open, I got another look in the summer of 2020 when Crowle was cleared to start hosting limited capacity weddings and events.

“As restrictions have been reduced in 2021, our event bookings have doubled. As we slowly return to normal, our venues are becoming incredibly popular and booking well for 2022, 2023 and beyond, Crowle said.

“We are pleased to become a premier wedding venue for the region and are thrilled to share this space with the community.”

Now you can also experience it on Derby’s grand opening night, which will encompass the entire venue. Tickets are $95 and include viewing of the Kentucky Derby on giant screens, live music, food and cocktails.

There will be Instagrammable moments, Derby-themed decor and more.

A portion of the proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Tickets are available here.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to dress up and celebrate some of our favorite traditional events,” Crowle said.

“The Kentucky Derby is a perfect way for us to re-immerse ourselves in fun, fashion and entertainment. We hope attendees grab their hats and bow ties and come dressed to have a good time.