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Norwalk's STAR Walk, Roll and Stroll Event Raises $120,000

(L-R) The Bagnati family, STAR executive director Katie Banzhaf, state Rep. Gail Lavielle, STAR walker Anne Brautigam and Westport Selectman Jim Marpe. Photo Credit: Contributed
Norwalk STAR Cathy O’Hara with Nicole Preston. Photo Credit: Contributed
Norwalk High School student Kazie Jones sings Star Spangled Banner alomgside state Sen. Bob Duff. Photo Credit: Contributed
Starting line of Walk with Team Becky sign (for Becky Flynn of Norwalk). Photo Credit: Contributed
Phyllis Rifas with granddaughter Eva Klopp. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- More than $120,000 was raised and more than 600 people attended the 10th Annual STAR Walk, Roll and Stroll at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport on May 3.

The Walk and Family Fun Day benefited individuals who have intellectual disabilities and programs offered by STAR, Inc., Lighting the Way. Attendees enjoyed a day at the oceanside park, a 1-mile walking path, breakfast, lunch, children’s activities and demonstrations by area organizations, such as the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk High School ROTC and NHS singer Kazie Jones, Marvin School Dancers, Musician Steve Avitabile, Massage Envy, Valerie Wilson Clowns & Co. and Rubberband, STAR’s own rock and roll band.

“This is our 10th year of the STAR Walk, Roll and Stroll and we are so grateful for the families, sponsors and supporters who have been there from the beginning. This event has grown to become one of the favorite events all year for our clients and their families. We are so humbled and tremendously grateful for all the support this year from our families and community supporters,” said Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR.

The walk included appearances by Miss Connecticut Ashley Golebiewski, BB the Bluefish of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, the Marvin School Dancers, STORM of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers hockey team, children’s activities and demonstrations by the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium Museum, FUNBUS, Massage Envy and Painted You (face painting and air brush tattooes).

Also in attendance were Westport Selectman Jim Marpe, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Weston Selectman Gayle Weinstein, state Sen. Bob Duff and state Rep. Gail Lavielle.

The event would not take place without the help of hundreds of volunteers from Norwalk High School, People’s United Bank, Weston High School, Norwalk Community College, Darien High School, STAR staff and area family, organizers said.

STAR provides services in Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston, Westport and Darien.

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