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March 15. 2013 9:59PM

Stephen fundraiser dinner Saturday benefits education

MANCHESTER - It began when Bobby Stephen owned the Vault restaurant downtown on Elm Street. The restaurant is long gone, but Stephen's St. Patrick's Day party tradition is still going strong, held in recent years at the Executive Court banquet facility.

The 35th celebration Saturday, a fundraiser for the Bobby Stephen Fund for Education, begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a full buffet dinner, music, step dancers and a few speakers. Tickets are $50 and available at the door.

Stephen, also a former state senator, is a father of three successful sons and said he keeps holding the St. Patrick's Day party to raise funds to help young people who need some extra help to succeed.

He said that's why the fund is now a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization and why he continues the party tradition. "I want to give back," he said.

The party traditionally draws a crowd that's heavy on politicians, from governor to city ward clerk, but also draws lots of "civilians."

Since 1994, Stephen said: "We've given over 300 scholarships." Last year, the number was 22, and the previous year it was 35. "It's a way to help at-risk students," he said.


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