Independence Day may be tomorrow, but celebrations started Friday. Red, white, and blue continue to be the popular colors as family and friends gather to celebrate what the Fourth is all about: not taking our freedom for granted and being thankful to those who have fought to keep those freedoms.
BELMONT COUNTRY CLUB Fireworks and Independence celebration was Saturday night. American flags lined the walkway. The grills were burning and revelers flowed in by the dozens, overtaking the lawn, the patio, and the balcony. The Glass City Dixieland Band had John Spitzer and his family joining everyone else in a jig. Meanwhile, clowns twisted balloons into shapes and painters used children's faces for canvas. A DJ enticed everyone to come into a tent to dance. Giant inflatable games were a hit, as were other activities, including the putting green.
Cruising around were members of the Dandy Dozen Golf Event who had just finished a game. It was for the club's 12 lowest handicap golfers who were available to play in the sole survivor, no handicap tourney. Dan Needs was the winner. Second place was John Landwehr, followed by Dave Jagodzinski.
The All-American Cookout included ribs, burgers, dogs, brats, corn dogs on a stick, corn on the cob, cheeses and fruits, tasty hors d'oeuvres, seven-layer salad, shrimp cocktail, and more, including cookies and cotton candy.
Nearly everyone was tempted to peek inside the two freezers filled with ice cream treats, including popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and more.
About 100 members and guests were upstairs on the balcony so they could see the whole shebang. The clan of John and Helen Williamson was there, as was Nancy Hummer and her children: Mark and Laura Hummer and their children, Hannah, Bea, and twins Elise and Nick, and Mary Clare Decker of Boston and her daughters, Nancy Decker of Richmond, Va., Elizabeth Decker of Boston, and daughter and son-in-law Kate and Greg Gamwell of Boston.
On the 19th-hole patio Marnie and Bill Ammann joined about 70-some partygoers. The Ammanns said they had watched the Toledo Country Club's fireworks across the river from their Hamlet home the night before. So did neighbors Shelley and Bob Julius. They toasted to June 30, since the celebration was a few days early. Home for a visit was Mrs. Ammann's daughter Allison Swift of Orlando, who has a new restaurant that will be up and running in a week or so. Also on the patio were Amy Ernst and her fiance, Dan Grant, and new members Jack Sculfort and Cyndi Marcis.
Also visiting were Californians Jane and Mike Hartman. They were with family and friends, including Gretchen and Tom Ziems and Charles and Ann Dana. The Hartmans' granddaughter, Jane Sanner Palladino, 2, with a head of curly blonde hair, stole the show as she became intrigued with the stone path. Tony and Debbie Knight were glad to have their family visiting too. Marv and Nancy Robon were roaming around outside while their daughter and son-in-law Maria and George Gauchey and Nicholas, 2 months, were inside watching from afar.
Several other parties were sizzling down the fairway, including at the Lydens' place and the Stanfords' place.
Almost night, everyone found a favorite spot to watch the spectacular fireworks show. Cars lined up on nearby streets and neighbors sat in their yards. Yet it was quiet except for the pop of fireworks lighting the starry sky.
Among the 700 members and guests were Sarge and Sue Purewal, Gina Shiffert and Tom Tillander, Mike Pizza and Jane Kordash, guest Bob Billstein and his family, Gretchen and Tom Downs, Albert and Margaret Wright, Steve and Angela Fine, and Barbara Steele and Alan Kimpel. Tom and Mary Zraik were busy watching the grandchildren.
TOLEDO COUNTRY CLUB boomed with excitement Friday night. More than 500 people attended the annual fireworks party. The classic-style event is a tradition with many longtime members, including Pete and Carol Bentley and their daughter and son-in-law Kate and Scott MacPherson. Mr. Bentley was looking especially young and fit. Was it his rowing champion's physique or was it because he wasn't wearing glasses?
The event was outdoors on the deck and terrace and under a big tent overlooking the Maumee River. Giant inflatable games enticed children, as did other games.
John and Amy Spengler watched in awe as their son Jack, 6, made his way up the climbing wall. Having fun too was Mrs. Ohio Cay Stout, there with children Jackson, 7, and Jami, 6. Former Mrs. Ohio Sandra Seiple was there with hubby, Chris, and daughters Elizabeth, 4, and Kathryn, nearly 3. Stan and Barbara Deventhal brought their granddaughter Grace, 5, who was showing off a flag tattoo especially for children.
Chatting and watching the festivities were Jean Voss, with her daughter Robyn Barrie and her daughter Katie of Cleveland. They were home for a quick visit to see dad, Frank.
A buffet dinner included grilled shrimp on skewers, pork barbecue, and the old favorites such as brats, burgers, dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, macaroni salad, and more, including ice cream novelties. The kids' buffet had tempting treats such as mini pizza bits, corn dogs, chicken tenders, fries, ice cream tarts, and Smurf drinks.
The traditional American flag berry cake was served for dessert: a triple layer of white, chocolate, and strawberry, topped with blueberries and raspberries and ice cream.
Dusk settling in, glow-in-the-dark necklaces were a hit along with mini U.S. flags. Everyone found their favorite viewing spot: the lawn below, the boat docks, or the deck. John and Becky Aubry sat in their boat. Then snap, bang, and pop! Stirring patriotic tunes accompanied the spectacular fireworks. Everyone cheered and boat horns blasted while "God Bless the USA" played. Applause and whistles followed the grand finale. Mrs. MacPherson commented, "Wouldn't our founding fathers be proud?"
Among members and guests were George and Penny Trombley and granddaughter Isabella, the DiSalle clan, Bonnie and Rob Crider, Amos and Karla Chesser and daughter Hudson, and Sue and Dave Kienzle and family.
Several new members were there, including Gary and Gayle Eversole, Bob and Barb Bettinger, Phil and Mary Barone and children, Mike and Bev Porter, and legacy member Reed Lawless. Stopping by in time for the fireworks were Karen Merrels and her guests, Gehad Youssef and Jeanne Sukulac, looking mighty fit.
More parties are in store, so Happy Fourth of July!