Tag Archives: Connecticut Convention Center

It’s Mother’s Day Weekend And More Hartford

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The big “doing” this weekend is, of course, Mother’s Day, and that means flowers, cards, andcalendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1] special dining or gift-giving plans for most families.

But the weekend goes beyond mom’s day, and here’s a sneak peek.

Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters will be handing out some awards May 8 at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Wethersfield as it honors individuals who have stepped up to help the youngsters the non-profit serves.

Award winners include Samaia Hernandez, a spokesperson in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office who will receive the Victoria L. Soto Memorial Award, Lorrie Adeyemi from Atty. General George Jepsen’s office will be recognized as the Big Sister of the Year, Joseph Posta, who works at Ultra Electronics DNE Technologies, who will be named the Big Brother of the Year and Christopher Fernald, of Seitz Corp. who will receive the John M. Clapp Big Brother of the Year honor. Lucille Ruggiero, a volunteer at Vivian McRae Wesley Elementary School in Middletown will receive the Foster Grandparent of the Year award.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. for more information go here.

golic (2)Also on Thursday, Max Downtown will host a special event with Mike Golic of ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” show to benefit Camp Courant. The event includes a three-course dinner, auction and reception, beginning at 5:30 p.m. For information go here.

The annual Latina & Power Symposium will also be held May 8 at the Hartford Hilton. the day-long event includes seminars, luncheon and speakers , including Sandra Guzman, author of “the Latina’s Bible.”

For information go here.

Also on May 8, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus opens at the XL Center, continuing with shows through May 11.For information go here.

On May 10 , at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. head to the CT Historical Society Museum & Library for “Katehepburn13 Couture,” A Hepburn-Inspired Fashion Show” featuring the show and the exhibit there featuring clothes  the famed actress wore in many of her movies,plays and at home. For more information go here.

raceinthepark2Also on May 10, the annual Race In The Park will take place at New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park, The annual 5K run benefits the CT Breast Health Initiative. Honorary chairs are CT Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, ESPN commentator Rebecca Lobo, youth ambassador Jess Rivard and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart. The event also includes 1 and 4K  walk, a Kids Expo, food, kids fun run, jazzercise, auctions and more.

For more information go here.

Also on May 10, the JDRF will hold it annual “Rock the Cure” Promise Ball at the Connecticutmichales Convention Center with special guest, musician, actor, producer Bret Michaels.

Yale School of Medicine professor, Richard A. Flavell will be honored at the event which begins at 6 p.m. For more information go here.

For more information go here.

And in West Hartford on May 10 it’s the 15th annual “Mayor’s Charity Ball.”

Held under a tent on the town green, this year’s special guest is Teacher of the Year, John Mastroianni.

Proceeds will benefit HopeWorks Inc. and Playhouse on Park.

For more information go here.






New Year, New ‘To Do’ Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]disneyAnother year and another 52 weekends of things to do in and around Hartford.

So Happy New Year all! Here are some choices to get your 2014 ‘out and about’ off to a good start!

If you are still trying to stretch that “extra time” with the kiddos into the new year, head over to the XL Center for the ‘Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes’ show. The production featuring Disney characters including Prince Philip, Meleficent, Ursula, Ariel and Prince Eric runs through Sunday.  Information: ticketmaster.com

Looking for something that is “adults only.” Head over to Hartford Stage where actor/author Steve Martin’s  “The Underpants” opens  Thursday and continues through February. Information: hartfordstage.org

Also, beginning on Thursday, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra with Hartford Stage celebratehstage505 120 years worth of theater and music at a production of Shakespeare’s (dare we say it)  ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

HSO, celebrating 70 years, and Hartford Stage, celebrating 50 years, will present the classic through Sunday. Information: hartfordsymphony.org

Tired of winter and the cold, cold, cold?  Head over to the Connecticut Convention Center this weekend for some dreams of summer at the 32nd annual Northeast RV & Camping Show Friday through Sunday.

madDogAndMerrillCartoon[1]Besides displays and vendors, the three-day event also features Wisconsin “cheese heads”  Mad Dog and Merrill who have been featured on national TV and have their own show back in Wisconsin on the CW Network.



MS Society Holds Annual Hartford Luncheon

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ms2 (2) Longtime friends Mary-Lyn Alonzo and Joanne Dunn have their own holiday tradition, lunch at the annual “Greater Hartford Women Against MS Luncheon.”

And that tradition continued for the eight year in a row as the two Simsbury residents along with a table full of friends showed their support for Dunn who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS.)

“We became friends when we had our babies,” explained Alonzo who each year organizes a table for friends to attend the luncheon that this year featured motivational speaker Larissa Nusser, who also has MS. “After she was diagnosed I just started putting a table of friends together every year to support her and the MS society,” said Alonzo. “It’s a way to support her even more.”

More thanms1 (2) 300 women attended the event that included some pre- and post- luncheon on-site boutique shopping at a time when everyone is trying to fit that one extra task into an already busy life.

“Enjoy the moment,” advised Nusser.

“Don’t worry about tomorrow, do what is right in front of you,” said Nusser. “Be here now and enjoy the moment,” she emphasized. “Don’t worry about what else is out there.”

Nusser, who teaches yoga laughter in New York, explained she was wheelchair-bound when she was diagnosed. She adopted a three-lane highway philosophy that has resulted in a busy life that is wheelchair-free.

“It’s about positive thinking, disease modifying therapies and yoga,” she said about her wellness recipe.

And for those who already feel overwhelmed as the season obligations start to pile up?

“Start every day by expressing gratitude,” Nusser said. “Happiness gives you the power to transform your life.”

Dorsett Stars At International Car Show CARA Bash

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dorsett2Dallas came to Hartford Thursday night, Dallas as in Cowboys and Cowboys as in former Heisman Trophy winner, running back Tony Dorsett.

Dorsett was the special guest at the opening of the CT International Auto Show, a by-invitation-only fundraising soiree sponsored by the Ct Automotive Retailers Assn.

The Hall of Famer skipped over talk about his recently diagnosed chronic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has been linked to head trauma. He wanted to talk cars.

“The first car I ever drove when I was a teenager, A Dodge, a blue Dodge,” he said grinning as he signed footballs, jerseys and anything else guests put in front of him to get the celebrity’s autograph. “It was built the way cars used to be built, metal not plastic,” he said. “I still remember getting a small dent in that car when I was a kid and being so afraid to tell my father,” he added. I’ll never forget that car.” And what wheels is the Hall of Famer is driving now? “A Nissan Pathfinder,” he said. “It suits me just fine.”

Dorsdorsett1ett was wasn’t the only star at the party held in the midst of an exhibit hall full of the newest and the brightest cars featured at the show that runs through Sunday. There was Lewis Mills High School junior Cameron Greenwood, too. The 16-year-old cancer survivor and patient from the medical center, and his parents Scott and Danielle, were special guests, serving as the specially selected “host family” welcoming Dorsett. “I just got the briefing on him,” said Cameron about the crash course on “Dorsett” he received in the car on the way to the party.

“I’m actually a Giants fan,” said his dad who provided the tutorial. “But Dorsett was one heck of a runner when he played.”

Ct Women’s Hall Of Fame Makes More History

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women11You knew it was going to be a good night for the ladies at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame dinner and induction when Teresa Younger, executive director of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, offered this bit of advice to the audience at the Connecticut Convention Center.

“Be the kind of woman who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil says: ‘Oh crap. She’s up.’“

The wopmen13advice was just some that was offered during an evening that not only celebrated the 20th anniversary of the organization, but also added four more outstanding women to the hallowed hall. Inductees included former U.S. Commerce Secretary Barbara Hackman Franklin, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Yale University vice president Linda Koch Lorimer. “It’s an honor,” said DeLauro about being named to the hall that includes dozens of remarkable Connecticut women. “The women in the Hall of Fame all had accomplishments that were extraordinary,” she continued. “I am so pleased to join them.”

More than 1,000 people attended the event that looked like a living who’s who of politicians, women12corporate and non-profit leaders. Among them, Republican Chris Healy, Democrat Nancy DiNardo, Ted Kennedy Jr. and his wife Kiki Kennedy, business leaders Peter Kelly, Wally Barnes and Susan Rottner and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Also attending was State Sen. Toni Harp, who made her own Connecticut history Tuesday when she was elected the first female mayor of New Haven. “It feels great,” said the mayor-elect about her win, revved up over the prospect of her new position as she fielded hugs and congratulations throughout the night.

It waswomen16 also a special night for two out-of-state residents, Anne Daignault Hartnet of Charleston and her cousin, Laura Gates of Truro, Mass. Their great-grandmother Augusta Lewis Troup, was also inducted to the hall of fame. “We come from good genes,” said Hartnet referring to Troup, a journalist, suffragist and civil rights advocate in the late 1800s and early 1900s. “She is surely smiling right now.”

Besides the four inductees, several other women were honored including Younger, Andree Aelion Brooks, Dr. Carmen R. Cid, Julie DeGennaro, Dr. Merle Harris, Donna Palomba, Fran Pastore, Dr. Alice Pritchard, Jessica Sager, Janna Wagner, and Lynne Williamson. Receiving the 20123 Ella Tambussi Grasso Leadership in Action Grant was Wesleyan University senior Amber Nashay Smith.

If smiles could be measured during the night, one of the biggest was on the face of Geena Clonan, the hall of fame’s founding president. “We knew 20 years ago that there were so many brave women who made history in this state,” said Clonan as she watched the crowd arrive. “I am not at all surprised that it turned into this.”

“My Feet Hurt But…” Hartford Was Just One Big Party

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onebig2 Over at the Connecticut Convention Center it was all black ties and class as the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective held its annual “One Big Event,” a huge get together to benefit the organization and its programs.

Drum roll please: The award goes to this group for hosting the “Best Political Hobnobbing in Hartford” event.

There was lots going on around town but somehow “One Big Event,” and probably that so charmingly pushy co-chair E. John McGarvey, had the players all in the same room for cocktails.

Among them, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and one of her best buds, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian.

Ojakian gets extra points because he was not only doing political and civic duty but also coming off his own award high. Ojakian was tapped as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Man of the Year” last week for his fundraising and awareness efforts on behind of the society. His efforts were from the heart. His father, Gene Ojakian, was diagnosed with the disease 40 years ago and passed away earlier this year.

For more pictures of the gala go here.

(Is it my imagination or  do these heels not fit anymore? Awfully tight. And why oh why did I not park my car in the CCC parking lot instead of on Prospect near the Wadsworth where I must trek to next?)

Wakefield Brings Red Sox Red to Hartford

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wake2 - Copy (2)

Maryellen Fillo/Hartford Courant

Talk about luck. When the Greater Hartford YMCA began soliciting donations many weeks ago for its annual “YMCA Celebrates Champions” awards dinner held Thursday, guess what the Red Sox sent?

 An autographed ball by get-the-Sox-to-the-series hitter Shane Victorino.

And 10 weeks ago, when the organization was deciding who to invite as the featured guest, they reached out to former Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and he said “yes.”

So it was no surprise that it was mini-Red Sox Nation at Hartford’s Connecticut Convention Center Thursday as 400 guests not only celebrated the local champions who support the YMCA, but also those Red Sox who are making New England a pretty happy and exciting place these days.

“We planned it this way,” joked YMCA president /CEO James O’S. Morton who was bleeding red via the Boston Red Sox tie he sported for the evening. “When we arranged all this we had no idea the Red Sox were going to the series and had no idea, when we received the donated ball from Victorino that he would be the guy to make the final run to get the Sox into the series.”

Wakefield was one happy guy before the dinner started (but before the Sox lost Game Two of the series to the St. Louis Cardinals) admitting that he wished he could still be on the field.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

“They are doing everything right,” he said, flaunting one of his mega-sized World Series rings. Now a NESN Red Sox analyst, Wakefield had his own series prediction as he signed four dozen baseballs that were part of the swag for VIPers who paid the big bucks to meet Wakefield in person.

“Six in six,” he said, being generous to the Cardinals talent. “They’re a good team but we are going to win it.”

Honorees at the dinner were Yvette Melendez, Christine Marcks and Douglas McCrory.


A Ball of A Ball For St. Francis Foundation

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

 The decked out crowd heading into the Connecticut Convention Center Saturday night had tourists and others in the area talking…or rather asking , what’s going on?

The occasion was the St. Francis foundation Miracles XXIV Gala, the first gala of the season and it did the city proud.

More than 1,400 people turned out for the black-tie event that this benefits the hospital’s new Comprehensive Women’s Health Center, opening in November.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

Calling it “one of a kind” in this region, Dadlez, temporarily gave up his anchoring the receiving line in order the enthuse about the venture that will offer coordinated heart, gynecological, cancer and wellness care to women,

“It’s one stop shopping,” he explained about the comprehensive care program. “And we know there is absolutely a market for it.”


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

And while you might suspect a room full of medical types would mean a lot of chatter about hearts and bones and cures and such, it was a night to put profession aside and instead just have some fun, in some really nice clothes.

And standing out among the fashionably dressed crowd was Dr. Surita Rao, who not only looked great but had a great story to go along with her saree formal wear.


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

“It was my mother’s, vintage 60’s,” said the gold-and-white draped Rao, chairman and director of the St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center Behavioral Health Department. “All five meters of cloth.”

Honorary chairperson for the evening was Dr. Pauline Olsen. Chairing the event were Dr. Mario Cirikovic and Janice England-Cirikovic and Beth Rubino.

For more pictures go here.


ECCI Holds A Ball, Parisian-Style

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towercancer13If you needed a bit of Parisian inspiration all you had to do was head over to the Connecticut Convention Center Saturday where the Eastern CT Cancer Institute held its 2013 “Healium Ball,” black tie fundraiser. And taking center stage was the floor to ceiling Eifel Tower that not only set the mood but provided the nicest surprise for the gala committee.

“It was the convention center lighting crew that came up with the idea,” explained Kathy O’Neill, who co-chaired the fundraiser with Nina Kruse and Donna Karl. “They built it out of lighting trusses.”

Proceeds from the event, celebrating its fourth year, benefited the new John A. DeQuattrocancer14 - Copy Cancer Center, and Meg Berté Owen Survivorship Fund.

About 560 people attended the event that included a French chanteuse, caricatures and a performance by La Musique de la Nuit.  Master of ceremonies was FoxCT personality Alison Morris.

“Power of the Purse” Benefits United Way

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purse5 (2)Everyone who counted was there at the Connecticut Convention Center Monday, Michael Kors, Mary Frances, Judith Leiber, Manolo Blahnik…you get the idea.

Because when it came to purses, clutches, bags, pockets books and totes, it was a who’s who that was up for grabs at the United Way’s second annual “Power of the Purse” luncheon.

“It’s like your breath gets taken away when you walk into this,” said Marcy Sarino, a West Hartford resident who didn’t seem to know where to go first when it came to bidding on the hundreds of high-end handbags and other silent auction items that were part of the event organized by the United Way’s Women’s Leadership council to benefit its programs.

Chaired by Janet Flagg-Rawlins and Susan Christensen Stoner, the event is held to provide purse5financial education services to those in need.

More than 500 people attended the fundraiser that included something extra, some qualityadvice on how to get money into those purses.

Personal finance expert, author and tv personality Farnoosh Torabi was the guest speaker, and had plenty to say when it comes to keeping those pocketbooks flush.

purse15 “Pay yourself first,” advised Torabi, explaining that automatically depositing money into your own account and then paying bills assures some financial peace of mind. “Ask yourself what you are worth and then demand that,” she continued, urging the group to know their value in the workplace and not settle for something less.

“And set your goals,” said the Louis Vuitton-toting money guru. “If it’s a Louis Vuitton purse you want to own, make it a goal and work toward that goal.”