The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will present its 12th annual Red Apple Awards on April 28 during a "Cirque de la Mer" event.
This annual fundraising evening supports The Maritime Aquarium's Red Apple Fund for Student Enrichment, which helps to make the aquarium's marine-science and environmental-education programs available to students and teachers in the tri-state area who otherwise may not be able to participate.
The Red Apple Awards honor companies, organizations and individuals who share the Maritime Aquarium's concern for the natural world and environmental education. The 2011 recipients are the Erdmann Family and Leonard Tannenbaum, CEO"of Fifth Street Finance Corp.
John Erdmann Sr., of New Canaan, has been a dedicated aquarium volunteer for 23 years, giving up more than 5,300 hours of his time to help aquarium visitors learn about the marine life and natural importance of Long Island Sound. His son, John Jr. ("Jeff"), of Wilson Point in Norwalk, has served on the aquarium's Board of Trustees for six years, bringing an innate love of the water and instilling this same appreciation in his own sons, while championing the best interests of the aquarium.
Leonard Tannenbaum has been a member of the aquarium for nearly a decade, bringing his three sons to the popular attraction regularly. In spring 2010, he spearheaded a fund-raising effort to help launch the aquarium's newest exhibit, "Meerkats," and that commitment made possible the opening of one the aquarium's most popular exhibits to date.
Kelly and John Considine, of Stamford, are chairing the 2011 awards dinner, which is themed "Cirque de la Mer: Fire and Ice" and will be held primarily "under the big top" outside the aquarium's main entrance.
Guests enjoy a sit-down dinner, silent and live auctions and a one-of-a-kind cocktail party in the aquarium galleries, among the seals, sharks, sea turtles and other marine life.
Tony Award-winning singer-actor James Naughton will return as the event's master of ceremonies. Food Network host and producer Gordon Elliott will serve as auctioneer during the live auction, which will offer experiences around the world, including: a family stay in a lighthouse off Newport, R.I.; a Norwegian Coastal cruise for two; five nights in Bora Bora; an Amazon River cruise; and a private screening and VIP party of the next movie in the "Twilight" series, "Breaking Dawn."
This year, the aquarium is excited to introduce patrons to electronic silent-auction bidding. Using wireless touchscreen iPads, "valets" will be present throughout the night to help guests bid on a bevy of wonderful items -- from weekend getaways to golf outings to family experiences.
For information about The Maritime Aquarium's "Cirque de la Mer" event, call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2277.