Friday, May 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

Downtown buzzes with many events

Downtown Toledo brimmed with excitement Saturday night. A concert rocked the Toledo Sports Arena, the Greater Toledo Association of Arab Americans gathered in the SeaGate Convention Centre, Toledo Opera's The Barber of Seville took the stage in the Valentine Theatre, Something Swanky was held at 20 North Gallery, and crowds headed to Georgio's Cafe International and Diva Restaurant before and after the events.

THE SOMETHING SWANKY party presented by the MCO Foundation was colorful and full of life. Amid original works by painter Pete Beckmann, guests chatted as they feasted on foods from Cynthia's Catering and the Beirut restaurant. The tunes of the Bob Rex Trio added the finishing touch to the scene that included a sea of bistro tables draped in pink and orange, an ice sculpture, a silent auction table, and raffle prizes.

Committee members included Aly Sterling, Amanda Bublick, Courtney Kulmatycki, Melissa Voetsch, Jennifer Harr, Julia Smirnov, Kathy Carnes, Sophia McCullough, Lisa Knight De-Vilbiss of New York, and cancer survivors Barb Jaska and Susan Schwartz. Also Terri McCullough, who reports a net of about $5,500, which benefits cancer patients.


Something Swanky committee members included, from left, Amanda Bublick, Terri McCullough, Lisa Knight DeVilbiss, and Julia Smirnov. The event raised funds for cancer patients.


ADOPT AMERICA NETWORK presented its 19th annual Very Special Evening dinner auction Friday in the Stranahan Great Hall. Nearly 350 guests enjoyed cocktails and conversation as they bid on silent auction items, then dined before the live auction. Wendy Sowers, who has organized the event every year since its inception and received a standing ovation for her work, said this year's event netted $112,000, which brings the total for the 19 years to more than $2 million raised to find homes for children with special needs.

Board members of the organization include chairman Jani Miller, John Hull, Mark Karchner, Vann Black, Terri Gladieux Geiger, Mark Knierim, John Kos, Gary LaRoche, Bill Life, Cindy Longennecker, Barbara Machin, David McMurray, Todd Myer, Richard Ransom, Mark Rasmus, Bill Rudolph, Steve Solys, Jeff Stump, Stephen Taylor, John Wakelin, and Phillip Wurster.

FOR PETS' SAKE! Planned Pethood, Inc., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and held a kickoff benefit dinner Sept. 25 in the Terrace Room at Toledo Botanical Garden. The Kelly Broadway Duo performed jazz as some 80 guests sipped wines, nibbled hors d'oeuvres, and perused the silent auction items before Jason Whalen conducted the live auction. Among the auction items were works by local artists including Edith Franklin, Robert Pollex, Sarah Aubry, Betty Gorman, Harold Roe, and Ann Tubbs, and items donated by celebrities including television host Bob Barker, author Stephen King, country singers Randy Travis and Vince Gill, actress Camryn Manheim, medium James Van Praagh, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Chairman Jane Holman was delighted that the event raised $5,500 for the organization to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in northwest Ohio through a spay/neuter program.

"DELIGHTS FROM THE VINE AT BRANDYWINE" presented by Carrabba's Italian Grill was held Sept. 23 at Brandywine Country Club. Some 200 guests sipped and supped in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The hors d'oeuvres were tasty and the wine from Berman's was smooth, but the real hit was the chocolate fountain with fresh fruits, cakes, and more from Great Falls of Chocolate. The Bob Rex Trio provided music. Chairmen Maggie Kaser and Lisa Rechtenwald report a net of more than $10,000 to help grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

THE ACADEMY of Medicine of the Toledo and Lucas County Alliance presented Downtown Dine Around at The Docks in International Park. The progressive four-course gourmet dinner of international cuisine Sept. 19 started at Navy Bistro, then moved to Gumbo's and Tango's before returning to Navy Bistro, where the Jason Quik Trio performed as nearly 80 guests ended the evening in the Courtyard with dessert, coffee, and raffle prizes. Proceeds provide funding for the organization's new program, Healthy Choices, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds: Tools to Challenge Childhood Obesity, said Janine Rosenthal, co-chairman with Joanie Barrett, who noted the event netted more than $6,000.

GUESTS were invited to pull out their Hawaiian shirts and dust off their grass skirts for a party Sept. 10 in the Westmoreland home of Jim Moore and Tim Valko, the Annual Apollo Fall Picnic. Apollo is a group whose members donate $5,000 each annually to buy an object for the Toledo Museum of Art. The art is selected by a TMA curator, but the group votes on whether it should be purchased.

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