[This article was originally published in the June 2011 edition of The Middletown Chronicle.  For a PDF of the print version of this story, please click here.]

More than 200 people combined laughter and glamor Thursday, May 19 at the Rocky Hill Marriott for the fourth annual Fashion Show Fundraiser to benefit St. Luke’s Eldercare Services in Middletown.  Among the night’s participants were two dozen volunteers wearing styles from Men’s Wearhouse in Meriden and Astrid Couture in Killingworth, and Channel 3’s Scot Haney as the master of ceremonies.

“The event was absolutely fabulous,” said St. Luke’s Executive Director Diane Cummings.  “It was a huge success, and we were very fortunate to have Scot on hand.”

Each of the live auction items set the theme for the models’ outfits: a satin evening gown and white jacket tuxedo for a professional photo shoot; breezy cotton and a large hat for a catered barbecue for 50.

Area residents and businesses came together in a show of community as Haney emceed the event in his “outrageous and loveable” style, said event attendee Joyce Dowling.  Dowling has volunteered for St. Luke’s since 2006, but watched the fashion parade as a bystander Thursday night.

“It’s such a great organization.  I’ve been loving every minute of it,” Dowling said.

Auction items sold with rounds of competitive bidding and laughter.  Haney teased and cajoled the audience in turn, even posing for pictures with two of the evening’s youngest volunteers.

To the audience’s delight, Lauren Pearce-Morin and Gina Pitruzzello, both 14, requested photos with Haney after completing the community service hours for the religious confirmations.

Haney also conducted a question and answer session, regaling the audience with stories about the rain (“What is with this rain?  I didn’t have a bald spot last week!”), and asking for a straight donation from audience members.

In Haney’s 10 minutes, the audience raised $1000 for St. Luke’s.

Other participants praised the local communities for their contributions.  Frank Kuan, executive director of the Wesleyan University Center for Community Partnerships, was one of the evening’s models, who also valued the connection to the region.

Before the event began, Kuan circulated among the crowd, explaining his outfit’s associated auction item: “Gift certificates for wonderful gastronomic opportunities on Main Street,” Kuan said, displaying a plate labeled “Moveable Feast” and beaming.