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Wow! Are we in Toledo? Anyone who was downtown on the riverfront last week had to be impressed. People packed the area for Huntington Tall Ships Toledo, docked at International Park. The modern-day buildings and the ship replicas of yesteryear made quite a contrast on the skyline. Fresh lemonade, funnel cakes, and souvenir vendors lined the walkways. Workers peered from downtown buildings every time a cannon fired signaling the entrance of a ship.
Restaurant patios at The Docks were filled with tourists. Promenade Park, across the river, was a great place to sit on the lawn, nibble on vendor food, and listen to entertainment at the Blues Festival while watching the ships sail in and out with wannabe sailors. Next door at COSI, more family activity took place. The sun set, the bridges and buildings lit up, and new crowds arrived to dine at restaurants or take a stroll and listen to music.
The Junior League boarded the Arawanna II at Toledo Country Club docks Thursday night, then headed downtown to cruise around the Tall Ships. Area boaters also cruised downtown rather than fight the traffic congestion on land. Jim and Nancy Zimmerman drove downtown one night, then waited and waited and waited for the water taxi to transport them across the way, but alas, after a long line, the news came that the taxi was out of commission for the night, so they boarded a bus. After their hour and a half ordeal, they finally arrived at their party destination.
Pat Dailey played in the volleyball area of International Park as a storm of private parties erupted Friday night aboard several ships. Trans-World Shipping Service hosted a party aboard the Pride of Baltimore II, where guests feasted on fine foods as they visited with the sun-tanned dapper crew — including a few token females — in blue oxford cloth shirts, khaki pants, and red neckties.
The Caledonia deck was packed with Huntington Bank guests greeted by president Barbara Berebitsky and her bank crew. Beverages flowed and fancy desserts and coffees were served. Seen were Ron McKinney, Leo and Deb Deiger, Peggy Grant, Lisa and Dennis Holman, Nancy and Marv Robon, Deb and Garrett Barnett and their son Jarrett, Tony and Anita Reams, Kim and John Seidel, and Carol Bintz. A stone's throw away was the Tarangini, loaded with politicians, including Mayor Jack Ford on his round of invitations. Dockside of True North, the Port Authority had its own land party. The Red Witch crew, weary from day sailing, put on smiles as they greeted guests for an evening sail, and what a beautiful sight — red skies tonight ... sailor's delight!
COSI's Party on the Patio for sponsors, part of COSI's Night on the River fest, kicked up as the sounds of KGB band filled the air. COSItini's were a hit. Adults played like children at scientific games. Tim Murphy rode the high-wire bicycle. The excitement was reminiscent of the opening days of the former Portside Festival Marketplace. New Toledoan Diane Bartos, there with her hubby David, remarked of Toledo, “It's a really homey feeling and oh! ... the restaurants ... they're wonderful!”
Saturday was a great day for a parade, especially a boat parade. Some of these boaters, including John Bureau, worked hard all week as volunteers for Tall Ships. “We expected 70 boats and got 120,” said Bob Kneisley, co-chair of Saturday's Parade of Sail and Salute to the Fleet. Co-chair Howard Pinkley counted boats from at least 15 yacht and boat clubs in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Among parade vessels getting awards at a dinner for 400 hosted by Toledo Yacht Club were Robert Eischen's “Alaya” (most appropriately dressed boat) and Clarence Meyers' “Lady Gayle” steamboat (most ornate).
Some ships sailed into the sunset with a boatload of passengers. Before boarding the Pride of Baltimore II, guests of Huntington Bank, including Jerry and Lois Sawicki, feasted on a lavish dockside buffet. Meanwhile members and guests of the Toledo Club boarded the Appledore IV for a three-hour cruise that included a sailor's delight of prime rib sandwiches, fresh fruits and cheeses, and sinful desserts. TC had such a great response that two nights were booked to accommodate everyone. The weather was perfect and the view was spectacular from the river to the shore, where the riverfront was filled with people as the stars came out and the buildings and bridges sparkled with lights. Among those who set sail were Bob and Sue Savage, Mike and Anna Miller, Lori and Glenn Paton, John Marsh, Joseph and Anna Pilkington, Bill and Carol Block, George Riser, Jr., and Cindy and Jack Niggemeyer. Once ashore, Jim and Kay Murray continued the fun with a nightcap on one of The Docks patios, where the view was still exciting till after midnight.
Yesterday, many folks who had already been downtown stopped by for one last peek before the ships set sail for the next port.
‘Jimmy is Back!” Jim Jackson pre|sented the 2003 A.S.S.I.S.T. Awards Saturday night in the SeaGate Convention Centre. The event, founded seven years ago by Mr. Jackson who grew up in Toledo, stands for Advocates Servicing Society's Inequality Sincerely and Thanklessly. Last year's gala was postponed until this year, since Mr. Jackson was on his honeymoon.
The candlelighted evening was elegant. Sheer gold metallic fabric from Dallas draped over white linen covered tables with gold cane chairs from Detroit. Lighted vases held bouquets of flowers. A touch of hot pink, yellow, green, and other bright colors added accents to the classy decor.
Guests sipped and nibbled as they bid on silent auction items including a Volkswagen Beetle, a Florida vacation package, Tiger Woods golf bags, spa packages, and paintings by several local artists.
Toledo natives and residents who have shown a strong commitment to youth and their community were recognized. The honorees included Weldon Douthitt, Judy Ellis, Ed Reiter, and the Rev. John Roberts.
Business done, it was time to get funky with The Gap Band, noted for songs including “Burn Rubber,” “The Boys Are Back In Town,” and “Shake.” The band professes “We don't do concerts — we do parties,” and a party it was. Guests danced in the aisles and by the stage until after 11:30 p.m.
More than 600 reservations were made. Seen were Mayor Jack Ford and his wife, Cynthia, Dan and Elaine Johnson, Jeff and Laurie Jaffe, Gary and Sue Swegan, Marianne Ballas, Bob and Ann Redmond, Bill Copeland, Maggie Thurber, and Sheldon Wittenberg and his table of guests.
Committee chairman and native Toledoan Calvin Lawshe was impressed with the great cross section of society, from the young to old, different races and nationalities, and political affiliations. “This represents Toledo,” he said. Mr. Lawshe was assisted by his wife, Vicki, and committee members Connie Schmidt, Deb Barnett, Pete Culp, Sharon Speyer, Ed Scrutchins, and Ardenia Jones Terry. Proceeds benefit Mayor Ford's Youth Entrepreneurship Program.
The Tall Ships event wasn't the only big attraction over the weekend. The grand opening of the $3 million Indian Motorcycle Toledo dealership in Rossford that featured a number of motorcycle-related events drew an estimated 15,000 visitors from the tri-state area Saturday and yesterday. Proceeds from concessions go to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
About 400 attended a private cocktail reception Friday night at the new dealership, whose partners are Don Harbaugh and his brother Mel Harbaugh, Jr., and Mark Moses. Among guests looking over displays of historic Indian motorcycles — some dating to the early 1900s — were Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell, who rode to the event on his Harley-Davidson.
Others seen at the party: Tony Knight, Dan and Mary Di|Salle, Chris and Pam DiSalle, Dr. Bill and Marsha Carroll, Dick and Pat Moses, Jim and Cathy Moses, the Rev. Michael Billian, Tom McHugh, Rob Robinson, Rossford Mayor Mark Zuchowski, and Rossford's city administrator, Vince Langevin.
The owners also did a little business. They reported that one unidentified guest liked an Indian bike — one of 50 copies of motorcycles designed for the Terminator 3 movie — so much that he agreed to fork over $50,000 for it.
Among those greeting guests were Mark Moses' wife, Kathy, Don and Mel Harbaugh's wives, Darla and Charline, and their mother, Eleanor Harbaugh.
— HOMER BRICKEY