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STAR's French-Themed Gala In Darien Raises $300,000

Rene Arnold, CEO of Wusthof Trident North America, and his wife, Andrea. Photo Credit: Contributed
John Danaher, left, with the Miklaves and the Musantes. Photo Credit: Contributed
Volunteers with baskets sell bracelets. From left are: Claire Kostohryz of Brien McMahon High School, Isabel Thelen of Wilton High School and Sandy Hatschl of Norwalk Community College Photo Credit: Contributed
Norwalk High students Joey Agostino and Angel Tamucci spoke at the gala. The two were voted Homecoming King and Queen at Norwalk High School this year. Joey’s mother, Laurie Agostino, spoke about Joey’s progression from the STAR Birth to 3 program. Photo Credit: Contributed

DARIEN, Conn. – More than 250 guests attended the Starry, Starry Night in Paris fundraising gala, which raised $300,000 for STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, an organization helping people with developmental disabilities.

“What a wonderful night we had to benefit STAR’s people and programs,” said Katie Banzhaf, STAR’s executive director. “We are grateful for the tremendous generosity of our guests, sponsors, auction donors, volunteers and families. It was truly an evening that was tres magnifique.”

STAR President Kenneth Harrington-Howes of Darien hosted the evening along with Banzhaf. Auctioneer June DeLair led the live auction, which featured more than 100 bid items, including a Broadway Lights and Posh Overnight for four with a choice of tickets to Broadway shows, and VIP sports packages for 12 to see the New York Knicks or Rangers.

Guests then listened to testimonials about the impact of STAR’s work from Brian Bosworth of Norwalk, Juliana Oyola of Norwalk, Rene Arnold of Wusthof in Norwalk, Helene Collins of Darien and Katteline Jean Pierre of Norwalk. Laurie Agostino of Norwalk also spoke about her son Joey, a student at Norwalk High School, who was recently voted homecoming king. Dinner and dancing followed. Guests enjoyed the French-themed menu and decorations, which included hand-prepared petit fours by Michael Joseph’s Catering of Darien, hand-dipped chocolate Eiffel Tower-shaped party favors from Chocolate Rain of Norwalk, special lighting and music reminiscent of a Parisian café from JFC Productions, Eiffel Tower centerpieces and more.

Proceeds will be used to support STAR’s programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families. The gala celebrates people with developmental disabilities who are leading full, productive and rewarding lives.

The chairpersons of the gala committee were Rob and Meghan Cioffi of New Canaan, Mary Ferrara and John Masanotti of Darien, and Joseph and Nella Viesta of Stamford.

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