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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Dragon tale

Published 7:55 pm, Monday, June 9, 2014

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  • Co-chairs of "Chinatown: Night of the Dragon," Family Centers' annual benefit, were, from left, Ann Croll, Merrilou Hillenbrand and Pam Caffray. The event, which was held recently at Greenwich Armory, raised more than $500,000 for Family Centers' human service, health and education programs. Photo: Elaine Ubina/Contributed Photo, Contributed Photo / Greenwich Time Contributed

    Co-chairs of "Chinatown: Night of the Dragon," Family Centers' annual benefit, were, from left, Ann Croll, Merrilou Hillenbrand and Pam Caffray. The event, which was held recently at Greenwich Armory, raised more than $500,000 for Family Centers' human service, health and education programs.

    Photo: Elaine Ubina/Contributed Photo, Contributed Photo

 

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More than 325 guests were immersed in swirling silks, exotic music and colorful dragons, as Family Centers brought a taste of the Far East to Greenwich for its annual benefit on May 31. Held at the Greenwich Armory, the benefit, "Chinatown: Night of the Dragon" captured the essence of an authentic Chinatown street festival. Drawing from elements that made the Chinatown sections of New York and San Francisco so iconic, Greenwich residents and event co-chairwomen Pam Caffray, Ann Croll and Merrilou Hillenbrand created a multi-sensory experience.

During the event's cocktail reception, guests sipped on signature drinks called "The Red Lotus" and nibbled on dumplings in between rides on the "Dragon Wagon" (rollercoaster). They also enjoyed the sounds of a Chinese string duo, a ping pong demonstration and a strolling Confucius impersonator. Once the sun went down, Chinese Dragon Dancers led attendees into the Armory for dinner.

The Armory itself was transformed into a Chinese pagoda, complete with glowing lanterns, parasols and Chinese dragons suspended from the ceiling. As guests enjoyed a family-style Chinese dinner prepared by Saffron 59, they were treated to a martial arts demonstration and a performance by Chinese Lion Dancers. After dinner, guests danced to music by DJ David Chang.

"Chinatown: Night of the Dragon" was Family Centers' largest fundraiser of the year, and raised more than $500,000 for the agency's human service, health and education programs serving more than 23,500 Fairfield County residents each year.