Final details fine-tuned for next week's Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame induction

Published on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 20:46
Written by Ciara Hooks


NEW BRITAIN - The Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame Planning Committee met Tuesday evening at the Sloper-Wesoly Immigrant Heritage Center to finalize details of the hall’s induction celebration, which is just a week away.

“We’re getting ready for the event and we’re discussing everything, like the content of all the publications and the program book,” said Kasia Sztajnic, project manager and event planner.

“We’re just going to go through this entire agenda,” added Andre Blaszczynski, longtime Tunxis Community College professor of economics, co-chair of the IHHF Planning Committee and president of the Polish American Foundation of Connecticut.

The committee members discussed six key aspects of the upcoming celebration, along with a few other points, bouncing ideas and suggestions back and forth until they came to an agreement.

Many of the final decisions made were based off last year’s turnout, keeping what worked and changing what didn’t.

No. 1 on the agenda was content and marketing. Blaszczynski checked with public relations consultatn Bernard Kavaler, to make sure the biographies for the inductees were set and all the advertising and social media marketing was on track.

More sponsors are still being sought, but Blaszczynski announced that, thanks to Lucian Pawlak, the other co-chairman and one of this year’s IHHF inductees, they are ahead of last year’s sponsorships.

They briefly touched on the program book, which is in the works. It was then on to the program.

Blaszczynski checked with artistic direcctor Patrique Hurd on the artistic program and the gala timeline. The artistic program will include performances by: Walte Malok-Zev and the Eastside Klezmer Ensemble, representing Jewish culture; Asian Performing Arts, representing Chinese and Asian culture; Alisa’s House of Salsa, representing Hispanic culture; and Karolin’s Wojteczko, representing Polish culture, all honoring the heritage of the inductees. A short greeting video from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will be shown.

“I’ve done a lot of events that were 200-and-something people and the video feed was not really necessary because the room wasn’t really that humongous,” said Treasurer Adam Formus. “And you really get absolutely no benefit from it because it’s not like you’re recording it.”

“The problem is the people in the back actually did not see very much of what was going on,” said Blaszczynski. “It would be different if the stage was higher maybe, but as it is the people in the back row don’t see much.”

When it came to reservations and registration, Blaszczynski stressed the approaching deadline for the committee to verify the number of attendees with the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, which will be hosting the gala, so the menu and other details can be finalized.

The committee is looking for volunteers to usher guests to their tables and register guests to keep things running smoothly.

“It was a very productive session. As with any major event, there are many details that need to be finalized to ensure it will be the wonderful evening that the inductees have earned and deserve. We are on track to make it a memorable evening, highlighting their achievements and the impact that they have had on our state and its communities,” said Kavaler.

The IHHF Induction Celebration will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Aqua Turf. The event aims to celebrate the diverse ethnic heritage of Connecticut by recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, economic and civic development of the state and nation.

The IHHF Class of 2019 will include pioneers, leaders and scholars in religion, education, science and public service. They are: Lucian Pawlak, former mayor of New Britain and community leader; Zulma R. Toro, president of Central Connecticut State University, the first woman and Latino to lead the school; Rabbi Philip Lazowski, philanthropist, spiritual leader and Holocaust survivor; and Henry C. Lee, internationally renowned forensic scientist.

The keynote speaker will be Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

The ceremony and gala will be open to the public. Tickets are $95 per person, with discounts available for purchase of tables of eight. For complete event, ticket and sponsorship information, visit or call 860-829-1215.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 20:46. Updated: Wednesday, 18 September 2019 20:48.