November 17th saw an important milestone take place: The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective’s 10th One Big Event (OBE) was the first LGBT event held at the Connecticut Convention Center, the largest such venue in the state. With over 500 people in attendance, this was indeed a unique occasion to celebrate the work of the largest organization in Connecticut devoted to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities.

Greeted by the images of the sophisticated OBE ad campaign, guests made their way to the Ballroom. As they stepped off the escalator, they were greeted by staff and volunteers who checked them in. Enjoying cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, attendees browsed over 200 silent auction items. Bidding was enthusiastic for items that were popular, one-of-a-kind, unique and even outrageous. Quite a few holiday gifts were purchased that night.

When the Ballroom doors were opened, the crowd entered the dramatically lit space with chic lounge music accentuating the hip aura. During dinner, legendary chanteuse Varla Jean Merman, welcomed everyone to One Big Event via a short film with the evening’s emcee, Jacques Lamarre, of the Mark Twain House. Jacques was a warm and witty host for the very busy evening. From dignitaries such as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Senator Richard Blumenthal to Executive Director Linda Estabrook and Board President Ali Levesque, everyone commented on the significance of the evening. One highlight was auctioneer Paul Stansel. With his rapid fire delivery, he motivated the crowd to bid on some amazing items including a theater trip to NYC, a weekend in Ogunquit, a Caribbean cruise and a Disney World getaway! Very nice, indeed! One Big Event Co-Chair, John McGarvey, announced that this was the best One Bib Event yet. Co- Chair, Nancy Meyer, agreed, stating, “Having reached capacity level at our old location, the Convention Center was the logical next step for this ever popular and growing event. In fact, we are already booked for October 26th for 2013.” You read it right folks, mark those calendars. Now! Over $125,000 was raised for the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective’s programs and services that have such a positive affect on so many in the greater Hartford community. Much of this was due to the support of the attendees, auction donors, program book advertisers and sponsors, including the generous commitment of our Biggest Sponsor, Cigna.

“We are grateful to the support of the community that is always there for us,” remarked Estabrook.

If you want to be a part of this network of support and join the One Big Event planning committee, contact Dan Millett, (860)278-4163. To see what this special night was like, please check the photos on our website www.onebigevent.org