BRISTOL - More than 100 people turned out Saturday evening to wine and dine at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, all while raising money for Bristol Hospital.
“This was a wonderful turnout,” said Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital, while sipping a glass of red wine at the Bristol Hospital Development Foundation’s annual Festival of Wine and Spirits.
“I’m thrilled to see this many people.”
Barwis said Mary Lynn Gagnon, director of the development foundation, who coordinated the event, always does a tremendous job putting on hospital events.
“She’s really good at getting people out, and the team is really good,” he said.
“There’s so many supporters here to try the different wines,” Gagnon said, adding that she, too, was “thrilled” with how many people came out.
The evening included tastings of a variety of high-end wines, spirits and beer, as well as a number of hors d’oeuvres. The night was also accompanied by music from the Billy Cofrances Jazz Quartet.
Marvin Friedman, owner of Maple End Package Store, who coordinated the more than 50 distributors and exhibitors for the tasting, has been filling that role for more than 20 years. He said the planning for the tasting usually starts about six to eight months in advance. Various wine and spirit suppliers and importers are contacted from all over, and Friedman and his associates sample some of the products before they’re slated for the tasting.
“It works well for us,” Friedman said. “I get to find a lot of new products I don’t have in the store.”
Through ticket sales, wine sales and the silent auction, hospital officials were hoping to raise around $50,000 on Saturday, Gagnon said. The wine tasting is generally the hospital’s third largest fundraiser, right behind the annual ball and the golf tournament.
The money raised on Saturday will go toward renovations of the hospital’s emergency center.
“It’s always one of the more popular events,” said Craig Mittleman, chairman of the Bristol Hospital Emergency Center. “It represents the community support for the hospital.”
The complete overhaul of the hospital’s emergency center has “created a lot of excitement from the community,” he said.
“The entire hospital is important, but the emergency center is always a popular area from a community standpoint,” Mittleman said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.