Hartford Mayoral Ball A Lush Celebration For Residents And Officials
BY MARYELLEN FILLO
January 21, 2012
HARTFORD —— Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra didn't want an inaugural gala until he realized it could be a "ball for all" and help nonprofits and charities.
"It's exciting and I am so proud of my city," said a tuxedoed Segarra, addressing a VIP crowd before the main event Saturday night at the Connecticut Convention Center. "I am so grateful for the support of this event."
The event was a pull out all the stops soiree complete with an ice sculpture of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, lush appetizer tables, linen topped tables in the dining room, a processional introducing Segarra and other city and state officials, a sit-down dinner, and a variety of music and entertainment.
Segarra said he didn't want a ball initially because of the cost and the message it might send. But after discussing it further he saw it as an opportunity to be "a ball for all."
"I have so many nonprofits and charities in need," said Segarra. "So making this ball something that will benefit them is an idea I could support."
Segarra has set up a Hartford Humanities Fund Inc., a charitable organization which will benefit from proceeds from the ball that attracted a hefty amount of corporate sponsorship and $100 per person ticket prices.The ball was a sellout, attracting more than 900.
Aside from the altruism, it was a night of flattery, gowns, tuxedoes and lots of socializing.
"It's just nice to get out although it would have been nicer without the snow," said David Levick, a Middletown accountant who attended with friends. "I think there is a renewed spirit about the city of Hartford and even though I don't live here, I think we need our cities to succeed for the benefit of all of us who live in the state," he continued. "And it seems the new mayor comes with a positive spirit about Hartford's future."
The renewed spirit was a sentiment echoed by many who agreed Segarra has brought a new optimism to a city that was pretty beat up during the downfall of former Mayor Eddie Perez.
"The city is getting organized, we have good leadership, " saidSt. Francis Hospital and Medical Centerpresident Chris Dadlez.
"The sky is the limit," chimed in a smiling University of Hartford president Walter Harrison. "We have a mayor who is an alumnus of University of Hartford."
The evening featured a cross-section of various arts groups and attractions from around the city including animated dinosaurs from the Connecticut Science Center and humongous puppets from famed puppet creator Anne Cubberly.
State dignitaries attending included Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, state comptroller Kevin Lembo, and Mark Ojakian, Gov.Dannel P. Malloy's chief of staff.
The governor did not attend because of a trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland next week, however his environmental protection commissioner Dan Esty, who is a presenter at the forum, did attend.
"We don't leave until Tuesday," said his wife Elizabeth Esty, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Connecticut's 5th District who is accompanying her husband on the trip. "It's been a busy week and weekend. We haven't packed yet."
Before heading into the ballroom, Segarra surprised his spouse, Charlie Ortiz, with a belated birthday cake.
"It was his birthday while I was in Washington D., C., this past week," said Segarra who attended a conference there. "That's the hard part when you have to do what you do as mayor and family has to wait."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at