CT Science Center Hosts An Out of This World Gala

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

 If you happened to be walking around Riverfront Plaza and CT  Scinence Center area Saturday, your eyes were not deceiving if you were sharing the sidewalk with some extraordinary people.

The riverfront was hosting the Scottish “Pipes In the Valley” which meant an unusual number of kilt-clad performers walking about. And as far as the crazy antennae, moon boots and metallic wear being sported by others?

Oh those were the people headed over the Connecticut Science Center’s “The Green Gala, Space Edition,” a salute to outer space.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

It was hats off to St. Francis orthopedist Dr. John Mara. He, who unlike so many of the men who conservatively opted to wear dark suits or tuxes and call themselves characters from “Men in Black,” reflected the spirit of the evening, a space-aged accoutrement, or as some might describe it, a shiny chapeau.

“It keeps the aliens away,” said Mara about his aluminum foil-covered hard hat that he wore with pride.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

There was also lots of “metal” in terms of metallic cocktails dresses and heels for the women with a few opting to give in to the fun and add Star Trek’s Uhura pony tails and Dr. Spock’s oh so distinctive ears.

Among those honored at the event were author Jared Cohen, a former Connecticut resident who wrote the New York Times bestseller “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business” and The Travelers Companies. Receiving the Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award was Kimberly McLean, principal engineer at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton.

“It was tough this year, there were a lot of good finalists,” said Dr. Bill Petit, who heads the foundation established in memory of his late wife and two daughters.

And while Petit opted out of any costume, he did have to give a shout out to his favorite out-of-this world character Flash Gordon.

“He was just very cool,” said Petit about the 1950s science fiction comic strip hero .

For more pictures go here.


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