Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Former Crocodile Club Prez Warns Dunaway

Gerry Brooks, a Hartford NBC news anchor, served as Crocodile Club president some years ago, at the request of the late Stretch Norton, who ran the dinner for decades.

He's clearly got a good memory of the event and told me organizers made a good choice in picking WTIC's morning talk show host, Ray Dunaway, as this year's emcee.

“I'm glad they got Ray to preside over the festivities,” said Brooks. “He knows everybody, everybody knows him, and he's an equal opportunity offender.”

But Brooks said being the emcee won’t be all fun and games.

“His biggest challenge, of course, will be to try and deny Dick Blumenthal's request that he speaks first because he's ‘gotta run.’ And believe me, that is a challenge.”

The Crocodile Club used to draw hundreds of politicians, local celebrities and hangers on to the Starlite Ballroom at Lake Compounce every August. The last dinner was in 2002. After that, Stretch, whose great-great grandfather, Lake Compounce founder Gad Norton, started the tradition, announced that he couldn't manage it anymore.

The event is being revived as a fundraiser for the New England Carousel Museum, which seems fitting, given the love Stretch had for carousels.

Tickets are $50 each for the dinner, which begins at 2 p.m. in the ballroom following a social hour. Mail orders to the Crocodile Club, c/o the New England Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Ave, Bristol, CT 06010. For more information, contact the museum, at (860) 585-5411 or download the reservation form on its website at www.thecarouselmuseum.org.

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