CHESHIRE — Hollywood came to town Monday night as the Police Department held a red carpet premiere for its lip sync challenge video.
The Cheshire High School commons area was turned into a movie theater, with a red carpet leading to a large projector, and tables selling popcorn, cotton candy, pizza and other snacks. Instead of traveling in a limousine, the “stars” of the video arrived via police cars.
The popcorn was donated by Wallingford Holiday Cinemas, and the pizza provided by Cheshire Pizza. All of the proceeds went to Cheshire Public Schools and the Hometown Foundation, sponsored by Bozzuto’s Inc. The challenge also involved dozens of other police departments around the state.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to say ‘thank you’ to the community than doing a fundraiser,” Cheshire police officer and lip sync video catalyst Tracy Gonzalez said. “It’s important to develop that relationship with the community.”
The video features theme songs from hit films such as “The Greatest Showman” and “Dirty Dancing.” As officers worked on it, relationships were forged or strengthened.
“I saw the bonds these officers have made with the community while the video was being made,” said Clem Kasinskas of Bozzuto’s, who donated video equipment to the cause, and was often up at 5 a.m. to work on production. “It really shows the value of community.”
The community reacted positively when the film was shown, with the loudest ovation coming when a pair of officers re-enacted a well-known scene from Dirty Dancing.
“I think this is a wonderful turnout,” added Carol Novak, whose son-in-law officer David Maliar appeared in the video. “This is great for the community.”
All current members and retirees of the Police Department were recognized as they made their way down the red carpet. Officer Gretchen Ovesny also spoke at the podium to promote a new Kindness Program that she is hoping to start at the elementary schools in the near future.
Gonzalez summed up the event when she stepped to the podium to describe the process of putting everything together.
“This was truly a labor of love,” she said.
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