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Norwalk Aquarium Raises Record Amount

A record $812,000 will be available to help present the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk's environmental education programming to students in the tri-state area after the aquarium's annual Cirque de la Mer fundraiser Friday.

This popular event – in its 12th year – supports the Maritime Aquarium's Red Apple Fund for Student Enrichment, which helps make the aquarium's unique marine-science and environmental-education programs available to students and teachers in the tri-state area regardless of their ability to pay. This year's Cirque de la Mer-themed Fire & Ice event was held primarily under "the big top" outside the aquarium's main entrance. More than 500 guests enjoyed an elegant evening of cocktails, a sit-down dinner, and silent and live auctions.

Of the amount, $140,000 was raised from a "paddle auction" and through the generosity of two aquarium trustees who pledged to match a portion of the bids. The $140,000 will be used to help schools pay for buses for field trips to the aquarium.

With cuts to education budgets and the rising price of gasoline, schools are finding it increasingly difficult to afford field trips, said aquarium President Jennifer Herring. Proceeds from Cirque de la Mer are used toward financial assistance for schools' transportation costs, admissions, IMAX movies and programs conducted at the aquarium and in schools through the Aquarium's Traveling Teacher offerings.

Master of ceremonies for the event was television personality and producer Gordon Elliott, who also served as auctioneer during the live auction. Kelly and John Considine of Stamford were chairmen of the organizing committee.

Did you go to the event? Was it elegant? Comment below.

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