The month is off to a great start so far, with lots of merriment for special occasions. And, what's extra special, is that there's an extra day on which to squeeze in some more fun. So, "laissez les bon temps rouler!
THEY met in high school, and the rest is history in the making. Kathryn "Katie" Navarre and Brandon Fields, she an alumna of Notre Dame, and he a St. John's Jesuit graduate, tied the wedding knot Saturday afternoon at Glenwood Lutheran Church. The reception was at the Franciscan Center, but not before the newlyweds stopped at the train station in memory of where they shared their first kiss on their first date.
The bride, the daughter of Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre and his wife, Julie, is a Bowling Green State University graduate. The groom, the son of local chiropractor, David Fields and his wife, Connie, is a Michigan State graduate. What's more, the groom is now the punter for the Miami Dolphins.
Brandon proposed to Katie while on the beach the January after his senior year at MSU, when he played in the Hula Bowl and she went to Hawaii to watch him play. A few months later the Dolphins drafted him, and before they knew it, it was their wedding day.
And that day was indeed lovely with red, black, and white accents with red, pink, and orange flowers. The groomsmen wore black tuxedos, while the bridesmaids wore elegant, deep red strapless gowns that were pretty enough to wear again, a feat nearly unheard of.
After a honeymoon cruise to Mexico, then a week in the Bahamas, the newlyweds will return to their Miami home.
Among the guests were Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and his wife, Amy, Sheriff Jim Telb and his wife, Linda, and State Fire Marshal Mike Bell and Karen Jarosz.
There in full force were a few football players, some from the NFL, including Drew Stanton of the Detroit Lions, Chris Morris of the Oakland Raiders and a Bedford High School grad, and Dave Rayner of the San Diego Chargers. Also there were Kyle Cook, an MSU grad who played for Spartan football; Matt Dzierwa, Brandon's high school football coach, Ed Heintschel, St. John's basketball coach, and Rick Sang, owner-founder of American Football Specialists.
There are still wedding planners at work for both the Fieldses and Navarres: For the Fields, another son, Nate, is getting married in Atlanta in May, and for the Navarres, daughter Lindsay is getting married in Jamaica in November.
MARDI Gras, party gras. It's always a great excuse for fun. Purple, green, and gold were everywhere, along with beads, feathers, masks, and king's cake.
•The second annual Mardi Gras at the Wildwood Manor House was Feb. 2 for the Metroparks' nature camps. Last year, 50 party-goers showed up, and this year the attendance list grew to nearly 300. Everyone could find something to do, from face painting, caricature portraits, a magician, raffle prizes, and carnival games, to tarot cards, an astrologer, and a palm reader, who read Amanda Szymanski's hand. Many guests, including Jack and Joyce Carpenter, found it was a shopper's paradise as they shopped the silent auction with all kinds of great items.
Meanwhile, Barbara and Alan Konop schmoozed all night long. Presiding over the event was their son "King" Ben Konop and "Queen" Courtney Beck.
Revelers could quench their thirsts at the Burbon Street bar and sate appetites with a taste of New Orleans, all while steppin' to the tunes of VooDoo Libido. Getting a head start was Shelley Brown, who hosted a preparty in her Old West End home. Guests included Lisa Rantala, Sydney Schriebman, Mika Highsmith, Chay Smith, and Kay Elliot.
•The American Turners of the German American Festival hosted a family Mardi Gras party. or Karnival, Feb. 2 at Oak Shade Grove. In addition to some great foods, there was dancing to the Encore's, and a costume contest. Extra special was the royal procession in honor of Prinz Al Amstutz, president of the Toledo Swiss Men's Society, and Prinzessin Marcia Amstutz, president of the Toledo Swiss Singers, and their royal court.
•Fat Tuesday was the perfect excuse for a Mardi Gras theme for the Toledo Lucas County Special Olympics Celebrity Wait Night Feb. 5 at Shorty's restaurant on Monroe Street. The first event of its kind for the organization was a rousing success, with 150 guests helping net more than $5,000 for the local Special Olympic athletes. Waiters included Jerry Knierim, Deb Simmons, Tammy Talmage, Joe Beham, Laurie Witt, and Marianne Mader.
•Also on Fat Tuesday was the celebrity wait night for the Kidney Foundation at Spaghetti Warehouse, with many volunteer waiters donning Mardi Gras apparel. Among the volunteer waiters were Jim Pitzen, Cliff Smithers, Amy Davis, Carolyn Rouge, Jodi Busack, Angie Henry, and Anita Lopez. The total net is about $7,500, thanks to the 120 guests.
NOT Mardi Gras, but held about the same time of year, is Noodle Day, a special family gathering every year on or close to Feb. 3, marking the birthday of the late Margary Kopp Brossia of Perrysburg. This year, the event was Feb. 2 in the home of great-grandson Mark Easterwood and his wife, Karey. Of the late Mrs. Brossia's eight siblings, Margaret Ann "Midge" Calevro Bellner is the only one surviving, and she was delighted to be there that day. She said her side of the family always makes the noodles with ham, while the Kopp side of the family makes the noodles with beef.
To make the noodles that day, there were about 12 gallons of chicken broth, 30 pounds of flour, 17 dozen eggs, a whole ham, and 12 loaves of bread.
They started off at 9 a.m., at least, that is when Becky Henderly told everyone to be there, even though she didn't arrive until 11:30 a.m. Flour was everywhere and so to were lots of gooey fingers as everyone - including family friends - pitched in. It was Sondi Kopp Ludwig's first time. Meanwhile, Jeff Easterwood was teased on whether to shave his beard - or not.
Also among the roughly 30 in attendance were family names of Brossia, Calevro, Karnes, Richardson, and Thornton. And it was an extra special day for Grant Easterwood, who celebrated his birthday with his children and grandchildren and other family members, including his daughter and son-in-law Cheryl and Rick Drennan, who made the cake, and his daughter Vicki Easterwood Richardson, who was in the kitchen most of the time.
There's more to come this national heart month, sweetened with St. Valentine's Day this week.