Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective's One Big Event

Event Info

One Big Event 2017

There’s NO Party Like A One Big Event Party!

Isn’t is surprising when you take a winning formula, add some new ingredients, rearrange things and then shake them up really well?  You get a really great evening with everyone having a sparkling time.  The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective‘s 15th One Big Event(OBE) on Oct. 28 is a first class example.

You knew the Connecticut Convention Center was hip and happening as soon as you entered from the garage.  A large mural of OBE characters enjoying themselves greeted our guests as they came in.  It was only a preview of things to come……

This year we totally rethought the evening.  We had a new layout, new music, new sound and new auctioneer.  Everyone enjoyed cocktails (who doesn’t?), a fine meal, wonderful opportunities to bid at the silent and live auctions and dance.  When you have a conga line going around the room, you know you better not stand in the way! 

A highlight of the evening was the inspiring speeches of OBE Chair, John McGarvey and Health Collective Executive Director, Linda Estabrook.  John reminded everyone that it is love that brought the audience together that evening.  Estabrook told the crowd about the important work the agency does and how the demand is increasing.

Other speakers included Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Randol Vasquez gave a powerful testimony of the life changing affect the Health Collective has had on him and those like him.  It truly inspired the audience as Auctioneer Patrick Soucy asked them to donate to the Health Collective.  Patrick then worked the crowd in the Live Auction when some wonderful items were snatched by lucky winners.

One Big Event is truly a team effort.  Many thanks to the OBE Committee: John McGarvey, Linda Estabrook, Donna Gerard, Richard Kimball, Dan Millett, John Rzasa and Jennifer Smithberger.  We had many volunteers who helped make everything happen.  Thanks to all of them.

A great BIG thanks to our Biggest Sponsor, Aetna.  Also, our Seriously Big Sponsors: Adams & Knight, The Hartford Courant and Voya. And our Really, Really Big Sponsors: Bank of America, Macy’s, Nordstrom, TD Bank and Travelers.  We are grateful to all our sponsors, auction donors and program book advertisers.  And a big “Thank You!” to all the attendees.  We think you had as much fun as we did.

If you want evidence of how much fun took place on Oct. 28, take a look at OBE photographer Tom Hurlbut’s terrific photos.  You can also see photos from the Hartford Courant and Facebook.  Finally, you know everyone had a lot of fun (maybe too much fun?) when someone leaves a souvenir behind.  We hope Cinderella found her Princess Charming.  If you need your left shoe, give us a call.

Here are the links:




Program Book

Also check out this year’s program book, courtesy of Adams and Knight!


Music & Dancing: PartyPro DJ

We have a new sound this year too. DJs Courtney and GIo from PartyPro DJ will provide a sound like the hottest nightclub in NYC or LA.  Can energy come in sound?  Get on our dance floor and find out.

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Gio is incredible at mixing and keeping the dance floor going. Originally a club DJ doing foam parties, raves, and college events, Gio is both versed in pleasing a demanding crowd, and satisfying musical desires from all decades and genres.

Gio has been the opening act for well-known artists, and has played in front of thousands of people but also loves working elegant and intimate celebrations and showcasing his professionalism and desire to please, musically.

With 12 years of experience behind the turntables, Courtney was born and raised in Detroit–a proud city rich with musical history, home of Motown and brilliant recording artists. From the beginning, it was impossible for her to ignore the passion for music she inherited from her father who would always play music around the house when she was a child.

Influenced by artists such as Monica, Brandy and especially the late Aaliyah, her musical palette also includes a variety of artists ranging from jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and jazz vocalist Marlena Shaw, to Motown’s quintessential vocal group The Temptations.

When she’s not creating an amazing party for a newly married couple, Courtney continues to showcase her skills at clubs, lounges and private events around Connecticut. Check out both our fabulous DJs here: www.partyprodj.com/meetdjs



Balsamic & Apple

Baby Field Greens Tossed with Gorgonzola Cheese, Granny Smith Apples, Caramelized

Walnuts & Balsamic Reduction


Stuffed Chicken Breast

Slow Roasted with Eggplant, Prosciutto and Muenster Cheese Topped with a Herb Cream Sauce
Complimented with Wild Rice Pilaf and Fresh Asparagus with Julienne Mix

Vegetarian Option

Polenta Lasagna

Layers of Polenta and Roasted Vegetables Topped with Tomato Basil Pomodoro Sauce


Chocolate Dome

Rich Chocolate Sabayon Filled with Raspberry Coulis

Hotel & Tux!

For One Big Event attendees who want to enjoy the party and not worry about driving,
we have just the deal for you!

The Marriott Hartford Downtown has a special arrangement for our attendees. For just $139 you can stay in Hartford’s finest hotel and continue the party the next morning at brunch. Brilliant!

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Want to stand out in the crowd at One Big Event? Modern Formals is a proud supporter of the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective. They are offering any in stock tuxedo including shoes at a special rate of $109. $10 from every rental will be donated back to the agency. They have 4 locations to choose from. With tuxes for men and women, you can make a fashion statement when you stand in front of the step and repeat banner. And who doesn’t look good in a tux?


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We salute Aetna on their fourth year as One Big Event’s Biggest Sponsor.  Thanks to the many businesses and organizations who support the programs and services of the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective.  You too can be a part of OBE and benefit from the exposure from partnering with us! View our 2017 Letter to Sponsors.   Contact Dan Millett, OBE Coordinator to find out how you can benefit from this partnership. View our 2017 OBE Sponsor Sheet. For more information, please contact OBE Coordinator, Dan Millett at (860)278-4163 x 118 or email danm@hglhc.org.


$15,000 +

Aetna Berry Logo


$10,000 +

Adams & Knight logo
Hartford Courant logo - 10-1-15



$5,000 +

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TD Bank Logo - JPeg

Macy's Logo

Travelers logo


$2,500 +


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Wells Fargo Logo




$1,500 +

  • DeVars-Phillips Florist & Antiques
  • Hartford Hospital
  • Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare
  • Prudential Retirement


$1,000 +

  • Aqua Pool
  • KeyBank
  • Nutmeg Federal Credit Union


$500 +

  • Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield
  • Berkshire Bank
  • ConnectiCare
  • eBenefits Group
  • Harte Auto Group
  • Hoffman Auto Group
  • ProHealth Physicians
  • Anne Stanback & Charlotte Kinlock
  • Thomas Hurlbut Photography
  • Webster Bank

Check Out Last Year's OBE!

Photos from the One Big Event 2016



The 14th One Big Event – Hip, Hot & Happening!


Sen. Richard Blumenthal, E.D. Linda Estabrook & Board President Joseph DeMaio.  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut 

Some things get better with age, and the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective’s One Big Event (OBE)  is a prime example.  Happy attendees gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center on October 15 to celebrate and support the Health Collective at our 14th fundraiser.  Folks enjoyed a busy evening of socializing, auction bidding, dining and dancing.  We put the gay in gala!  Everyone was a winner that night.


M.C. Michael Wilson, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman & OBE Chair E. John McGarvey  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

Master of Ceremonies Michael Wilson, taking time off from his busy directing schedule, was the lively and entertaining host of the evening.  Many speakers, including Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health CollectiveExecutive Director Linda Estabrook, One Big Event Chair E. John McGarvey, Board President Joseph DeMaio and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin gave their reason for being there.  They offered illuminating and impassioned testimony to the work of the Health Collective and the need for it to continue its mission.


Sophisticated Ladies  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

You knew the tone of the evening right as you walked off the escalator and saw the life size figures of the OBE marketing theme.  Everyone was posing with them and having a lot of fun.  If they could sit, folks would have invited them to join their table.  Thanks Adams & Knight!  Between selfies with the cutouts and posing in front of the step and repeat display, some cell phones must have given out from so many great photos ops.  And why not?  It was a smart looking crowd from imperial drag queens to politicos to movers and shakers in our fair city.


A Night Fit For A Queen (or Two!)  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

The the passion was not just at the podium.  Many were deeply involved with their bidding on auction items throughout the evening.  It was a full time job just keeping track of all the items that you wanted.  With over 200 items, there was something for everyone.  The evening ended with Shaded Soul Band making beautiful music.  The audience couldn’t help but get on the dance floor. 



A Gentleman Always Dresses for the Occasion.  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

Great BIG thanks to all of our sponsors, especially our Biggest Sponsor, Aetna.  Also, our Seriously Big Sponsors: Adams & Knight, The Hartford Courant and Voya. And our Really, Really Big Sponsors: Macy’s, Nordstrom, TD Bank and Travelers.  We are also grateful to all our auction donors and program book advertisers.  And a loud shout out to everyone who came to One Big Event.  We love partying with you.  Thanks for the love and support.


The Stars Were Out That Night  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

We look forward to seeing you in 2017 for our 15th celebration.  Watch out – you’re in for a great time!



They Were Up for a Good Time and Ready for Anything  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut

See all the fabulousness!  To view the photography gallery from One Big Event, email Tom@THPstudio.com and a link will be sent to you.  And because there was so much to photograph, you can also check out: http://www.courant.com/java/hc-pictures-one-big-event-gala-20161015-photogallery.html



Stepping and Repeating  Photo: Thomas Hurlbut


Live | Silent Auction

The Silent and Live Auctions at One Big Event always have competitive bidding on amazing items and this year promises to be no different.  One Big Event attendees will can get the best in arts and crafts, restaurants, health and beauty, shows and events, clothing and jewelry and so much more.  If you have an item to donate, please complete the following form: Donation Form. or contact Richard Kimball, OBE Auction Coordinator.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Auction preview.

To find out all you need to know about the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective’s 15th One Big Event, contact Richard Kimball, OBE Coordinator.

Richard Kimball: rrkimballcpa@gmail.com  


Eat your heart our Hallmark!  Our signature fundraiser shines in any poem you care to showcase it in.  But seriously folks, we would love to see you at One Big Event this year.  And what other night offers so much to attendees?  Cocktails, dinner, live and silent auctions and dancing.  Did I say it is an amazing time?  Not only that, but it supports a great cause:  funding the programs and services of the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective.  These have a positive impact on many in the greater Hartford community.  Do you have what it takes to be a One Big Event Table Captain?  Get your friends, family, neighbors and business associates together for a super evening out.  Just think how great it will be to have a group photo in front of the OBE Step and Repeat banner.  Bring on your star power!

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One Big Event Committee

  • E. John McGarvey (CHAIR)

  • Linda Estabrook

  • Donna Gerard

  • Richard Kimball

  • Dan Millett

  • Jennifer Smithberger

    John Rzasa

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One Big Event Host Committee

  • Adams & Knight
  • Aetna
  • Aetna- Law & Regulatory Affairs
  • Karen Beaulieu and Lisa St. Germain
  • Robert Biddleman & Dan Sullivan
  • Sean Bradbury
  • Joseph DeMaio & Jocelyn DeMaio
  • Linda Estabrook
  • Donna Gerard
  • Michael Goldfarb
  • Ernesto Guardado
  • Hartford Courant
  • Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Brian Hefner
  • Martin L. Heft & Andrew M. Nerney
  • Richard Kimball
  • Brad & Flint Kleinerman- Gehre
  • Fred Maloon
  • Gregory Matejcik
  • E. John McGarvey
  • Adam Nicholson
  • Eric Ouellette & David Belles
  • Adam & Alison Perrin
  • Stein Ramstad
  • Chrissie & Ezra Ripple
  • United Healthcare
  • Voya
  • Veronica Woodard

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One Big Event Honorary Host Committee


To find out all you need to know about the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective’s 15th One Big Event, contact Dan MillettOBE Coordinator, at (860)278-4163 x118.

About Us


HGLHC 2010 Rainbow LogoDid you know the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective impacts over 7,000 individuals every year?  Whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning or straight we are a medical and community resource that is sought after, recommended, respected and trusted for over 34 years.  There is a reason that our clients trust us for their medical, dental, emotional and community needs.  Our staff and volunteers are approachable, knowledgeable and nonjudgmental – a wonderful reason to be a part of One Big Event.

For more information visit our website at: https://www.hglhc.org/