A festive dinner, auctions aplenty and then some celebratory dancing to polish off a memorable evening ...

So it was April 14 at the Ethan Allen Inn in Danbury as hundreds of Greater New Milford-area residents enjoyed the Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut's sixth annual "Dinner with Friends."

Highlighting the evening was the presentation of an inaugural exceptional service award to Peg Molina, director of the New Milford Social Services Department and president of the CCSNC board.

The first annual Distinguished Appreciation Award was presented to New Milford Hospital, part of the Western Connecticut Health Network, for its cooperative efforts with the Plow to Plate program and other community endeavors.

Proceeds of the dinner-dance will benefit the school, a nonprofit entity dedicated to providing unemployed and underemployed men and women with the skills they need to find jobs with career paths in the food services industry.

For more information, call 860-350-2737 or visit www.communityculinaryschool.org.

Photography by Trish Haldin