Gentlemen dapper in tuxedos and women gorgeous in gowns. Just like spring flowers, formal affairs bloomed.
Dressing up seems to bring out the best in all. Men holding doors for ladies, polite table talk, good posture, and confidence in the air. Some formal events are more formal than others. But what defines funky formal and comfy footwear? A stroll through the Toledo Zoo Friday night gave a wide range of interpretations.
THE GREAT Lakes Chevy Dealers ZOOtoDO "Tail of the Dragon" presented by National City bank, was a real zoo, with some 1,800 party animals. Those in the know wore tuxes with shorts and tennis shoes and cocktail attire with flats or tennies to match. Some arrived a bit too casual, and some ladies opted for stilettos.
Looking good was Joan Uhl Brown in an oriental black-and-gold tapestry jacket. Janine Avila wore a flowerery skirt, a black top, a wide belt, and low heels. Blade man Joe Zerbey wore shorts and tennies with his tux, as did Tom Walton. David Hayes had a monkey on his shoulder. Joe Napoli sported a baseball-motif shirt with his tux and tennies. The night before, Marcia Rubini whipped up a fancy dress for the occasion.
Starting on the African side, guests whetted whistles at watering holes and tempted tummies with tidbits - like oysters on the half shell washed down with martinis. In the Chevy VIP tent was Dennis Setzer, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver, who announced the partnership between the dealers and the zoo. Featured was the E85 ethanol-fueled Chevy Tahoe, which is a great tie-in with the zoo's conservation mission. Others in the VIP area were Chuck and Jeni Miller, Tom and Mary Louise Alien, John LaRichie and Tracie Morrell, Mike and Mel Hoelzer, and Tom and Debbie Paul.
Driven by animal instinct was the mass migration to the historical side. Food "troughs" held dangerously delish delectables and more thirst-quenchers. Some 50 local restaurants, caterers, and country clubs donated treats: shrimp, lobster bisque, grape leaves, pulled pork, pizza, HoneyBaked ham sandwiches, braised rabbit, ice cream, cookies, chocolate fondue, Dragon Fruit sorbet, and more. Bob and Linda Helmer sampled nearly everythin, as did Phil and Mary Lou Rudolph.
The tents went deeper into the jungle, decorated with twinkle lights, oriental lanterns, paper parasols, and Buddah statues. Added to the decor were faces of birthday gal Loraine Boersma, who came with husband, Jeff. Drums beat and tunes cranked up and guests danced to Horse Cave Trio in the African Lodge for the more sedate, and Moore's Law and Velvet Jones for the ferocious.
Prowling about were Mike and Sallie Burns, Bob and Kathy Chirdon, Richard Rideout and Janet Albright, Melissa and Scott Lodge, William Schachner, Ruthie Wetmer, Bob and Kim LaClair, Dan and Carol Hylant, Susan and Kevin Gilmore, Kim and Mike Kastner, and Michael and Marnie Housey of White Lake, Mich. Event chairman Peter Boyer was assisted by vice chairman Mike Robarge and a herd of volunteers, including Heather Harnisch, Brooke Lauber, Therese King, and Jen Pelwecki. The estimated net is $250,000.
OTHER formal functions were something to crow about too. The Toledo Symphony League Gala earlier this month at Inverness Club was a black-tie-optional event, so while there was a little bit of everything, everyone was dressed to the nines. Guests mingled over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, then dined over a grilled tenderloin meal and a chocolate pyramid.
Gabbing were honorary chairmen Bill and Jean Buckley and Don and Mary Decker, Dortha and Jerry Baum, Myrna and David Bryan, Pat and George Eistetter, and Sidney and Paula Ribeau. Ken and Jenny Williams won Harold Jaffe Jewelers' raffle for a $5,000 gift certificate. Then it was time for dancing to the Rumplestiltskin band.
Among the 250 guests were auxiliary president Zana Sandys, Joanie and Mike Barrett, Shirley and Richard Smith, just home from a winter respite, Myra and Ken McClure, George and Kathryn Fell, and Dee and Lance Talmage, who looked dashing in his general's uniform. Looking fab was former league president Joyce Maines of Virginia, who was home for a visit. Chairmen Lori Paton and Margaret Doresco report a net of $37,000.
THE DEBUTANTE Cotillion presented by the Toledo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs Inc., is always a show stopper, and the 42nd annual event this year was no exception. Proud parents gathered just before Memorial Day in the Strahanan Great Hall to ooh and ahh over their daughters from area high schools, including Rogers, Scott, Central Catholic, Whitmer, Start, Libbey, Waite, and Notre Dame.
It was a beautiful sight when the debutantes and their escorts danced the Cotillion Waltz to Fascination. Young women in white ball gowns and young men in white tails, curtsied and bowed, then whirled and twirled in unison. A standing ovation led to an encore.
The 2006 Debutantes are nearly 30 college-bound students who prepared for two years for the big day of being presented to society. They attended teas and luncheons, took dance lessons, attended a health and career seminar, and more.
Miss Cotillion 2006 is Taylor James, who also won first place in talent. First-runner up was DanAsia Tyson, and second-runner up was Brandie Preston. Miss Congeniality was Bailee Alexander. University of Toledo awarded scholarships totaling nearly $14,000 to a dozen debutantes.
The Debs-In-Waiting, all in red gowns, watched in awe, knowing that next year will be their turn. They are from the above high schools plus Southview, Woodward, Bowsher, Springfield, and St. Ursula. Escorts, who attended dance lessons and more too, were all gallant. Mr. Escort of the year is Shawn Lincoln.
Wilma Brown was the chairman, assisted by co-chairman Mary Dawson and a vast committee that all made it happen without flaw, said club president Clara Brank and first vice president Wanda Terrell.
Outsiders played big roles too. Bill Miller and Sallie Chovan taught dance. Judges were Barbara Berebitsky, Elaine Johnson, and Jeannine Tyree.
MEMBERS were all gussied up for the Inverness Club's Formal Affair. The April event started with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Polite chit chat and a how-do-you-do were heard as new and longtime members mingled. Gadding about were Jon and Kathy Miller, Fred and Linda Deichert, and Patty and Dick Westmeyer.
Linen, china, silver, crystal, and candelight lured all to the dinner. A poached Maine lobster parfait appetizer followed by an asparagus salad whetted appetites for filet and halibut, but not before the lemon sorbet intermezzo. The marvy meal ended with chocolate. Then it was dancing to Hearts of Fire.
Chairmen were Duane and Nancy Ankney, Gary and Chris Hartman, and Tom and Nancy Kabat.