From red carpet to paparazzi to champagne, bling and glammed up “selfies” it was a night to remember at Hartford’s Front Street Spotlight Theatres where AIDS Ct hosted its annual Academy Awards party, “Red Carpet Experience.”
It was a special night for a lot of reasons, including the fact that the non-profit that provides support to those afflicted with AIDS/HIV, was celebrating the 20th anniversary of the glitzy fundraiser.
“There were years when it was pretty lean,” recalled decked-out columnist and NPR personality Colin McEnroe, who with Peter Shapiro, co-founded the event in 1994. “But it’s great to have it here tonight because our first few years, it was held at Trinity College and the Oscars were shown on the theater screen there. “
Spotlight Theatres, with enormous help from Steve Menschell there, set the stage for the gala evening that attracted more than 300 people, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Secretary of State Denise Merrill and Malloy’s chief of staff, Mark Ojakian.
“We have come so far when it comes to treatment and AIDS awareness,” said the tuxedo-clad governor who stayed for more than an hour hob-nobbing with VIP guests who sipped champagne and appetizers from some of the city’s best known restaurants. And since Java and WTNH personality Teresa Dufour had the governor sort of trapped on the red carpet, the next question to the elusive Democratic governor was, of course, “So are you running again?”
Clearly happy over the turnout and the vibe at the place was AIDS Ct co-executive directors John Merz and Paul Botticello, who was attending the party for the first time.
“We have been trying to keep AIDs in the spotlight,” said Merz noting it is still an issue and one that was once again brought to the forefront in the story lines in both “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Philomena.” “We are overwhelmed and appreciative of the support we have had over the years.”
For more pictures go here.