The Toledo area's social set saw February out and March in with birds and frogs and divas and Oscars.
THE 22nd Annual Bird Cage Ball was Saturday night at St. Michael's Centre, hosted by the Oregonian Club Charitable Foundation. The theme was derived from the local school teams: Eagles for Clay and the Cardinals for Cardinal Stritch high schools.
The club was established as a civic organization in 1945 to keep up and improve Oregon's civic standards. This is the first year it can be classified as a 501c3 organization. The nearly $20,000 net supports the scholarship fund for graduating seniors at both schools. Since 1986, president Rick Jaques said the organization has distributed 223 scholarships totaling $181,000 with proceeds from the ball.
Fine foods from Michael's Gourmet catering tempted many to nix their diets as they feasted on veggie pizzas, cheeseballs and crackers, stuffed mushrooms, apple brie pecan puffs, chicken marsala, carved roast sirloin bordelaise, paprikas dumplings, and more, including chocolate decadence and lemon meringue pie.
Meanwhile, Mike Jamieson of Jamieson's Mobile Music played background tunes. And the silent auctions of all kinds proved a shopper's paradise, with treasures from sports, restaurant, and vacation packages, to home decor items, and more.
There were two 50-50 cash raffles throughout the evening as well as other raffles for cash and prizes, including a television set. Oregon Mayor Marge Brown and The Rev. Dave Reinhart, Cardinal Stritch president, both won cash prizes but donated their loot back to the cause.
But extra special was the standing ovation for Bud Lagger, who was surprised with a special award for his 33 years of service. Mr. Lagger thought he was going to retire, but the club has other ideas in mind.
Among the nearly 250 supporters present were Lenny Fetterman, Fire Chief Bill Wilkins and his wife, Linda, State Rep. Matt Szollosi and his wife, Melanie, Frank Szollosi and Marlene Brinkman, John Hall, superintendent of Oregon schools, Tim Mahoney, Cardinal Stritch principal, and Mike Zalar, Clay principal,
Event chairman Mike Hopkins and co-chairman Mike Row were assisted by a committee or more than 20 volunteers. And it would not have been possible without the donations from the more than 20 area businesses.
FROGS on lily pads sat here and there, and cute frog-themed cocktail napkins added a laugh or two, but mainly it was just a fun, casual gathering in the bar area at Belmont Country Club Friday night for a Leap Year Party.
Hosted by Junior Intermediate members, there were no reservations needed and there was no cost but for beverages and food. There was a special Leap Year Party menu of appetizers and special leapin' lizzards martinis. And although it was for the younger members, many seasoned members enjoyed the fun too.
Schmoozing were Cindy and David Taylor, and Bill and Marnie and Bill Ammann, David Hancock, Steve and Linda Stanford, Myrna and Dave Bryan, Suzanne and Doug Neckers, Julie and Todd Sattler, Dan Needs, Mike Mefferd, John and Suzanne Byerly, Trina and Mike McGivern, Pam and Allen Pilz, Pat and Mandy Paule, Jorge and Jenny Diaz, and Joe and Rachelle Young.
Party chairmen were Sara and Kevin Mowery and Kat and Dean Radeloff.
Mrs. Mowery said the purpose of the party was to get people out of winter hibernation and starting using the club, commenting: "What better time to start than Leap Year?"
SPEAKING of Leap Year and frogs, Toledo was known many moons ago as Frogtown. So it was appropriate that Friday afternoon there was a Leap Day Kickoff for the Year of the Frog with local dignitaries at the Toledo Zoo in the Museum of Science.
In support of the zoo's amphibian conservation work, the Year of the Frog efforts are being coordinated through Amphibian Ark, a group dedicated to creating safe havens for frogs and other amphibians until reintroduced into the wild.
DIVA fans stopped by Saturday night for one last taste of gourmet delights and drinks in the contemporary, artsy restaurant downtown before it closed its doors for good.
But as much as owner Jim Zaleski was sad about the closing, he and his wife, Alison, said another door will open. And how can they be sad when they have a new bundle of joy which arrived Dec. 24: son Zenonn Thomas Zaleski, named for grandfathers Zenonn and Thomas.
Diva opened its doors in September, 2000, and the Zaleskis met in March, 2001. The rest was history.
Mr. Zaleski said they are not the only ones who think of Diva as a special place. Paul and Julie Croy, who stopped by Friday night, had their first date at Diva. There are many others who have shared anniversaries, birthdays, showers, and more, including more than 200 art parties hosted by Diva.
In addition to all of the fans who stopped by, Mr. Zaleski received many calls from folks who are out of town and out of the country but heard the news.
The good news is, according to Mr. Zaleski, that nearly all his staff members have found employment elsewhere. The community-minded Mr. Zaleski said many times he received solicitation calls asking for donations for various charitable events, and he nearly always gave, even when the callers had never set foot in his restaurant. He asked them to stop by and have a drink or something to eat when they pick up their certificate. Funny thing is, the ones that tend to give are the locals, rather than the national chains.
AS they say in Hollywood, On with the show! Oscar Night 2008 Glitz and Glamour in the Golden Age was Feb. 24 at the Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The fifth annual event, presented by Columbia Gas of Ohio, supports programs and services of the Greater Toledo Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and netted $58,000.
Guests were treated like superstars from the moment they were whisked away in limousines in the parking lot to the moment they were greeted by screaming fans and paparazzi as they walked the red carpet. Then they were pampered all night long. Chrys Peterson and Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11, interviewed many of the guests as they arrived. The place was transformed into a classy upscale Hollywood scene with black, white, and red decor, the fine creations of Keith Brooks.
There was plenty to do in the night club scene as guests experienced the sparkle and splendor of the Academy Awards, which was aired on a big screen. Hep Cat Revival and Dennis Samson & Nightbreeze provided tunes for dancing and Toledo School for the Arts Jazz Trio provided background music.
Guests savored delectable edibles and specialty drinks by local restaurants and caterers which once again showed support by donating their goods. Pitching in for the cause were Avenue Bistro, Basin Street Grille, Beirut-Byblos-Poco-
Piatti, Ciao!, City Barbeque, Cousino's Navy Bistro, Georgio's Cafe International, Gladieux Catering, KotoBuki Japanese Restaurant, LaScola Italian Grill, Mancy's Bluewater Grill, Nick & Jimmy's Bar & Grill, Premier Catering, Real Seafood Co., Rosie's Italian Grille, San Francisco Oven, Shorty's True American Roadhouse, and Zia's.
There were also sinfully delicious desserts by Array of Taste, Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Eston's Gourmet Creations, and coffee by Starbucks, among the few chains to join in the cause.
In addition, there were more than 30 sponsors who gave in support of the cause.
Many party-goers all who paid $90 smackers to attend, vied for a number of themed "presenter baskets" each containing special gifts and valued at over $500 each. Two baskets also contained a special gift donated by Harold Jaffe Jewelers. Raffle tickets were sold for chance to win one of the baskets and the basket raffle alone raised $6,000.
Among the winners were Craig Jones, Jim Corbo, Kim Montri, Linda Yenrick, Meg Milano and Polly Gerken. Dean Sparks won the "I Love Toledo" package that included a men's watch donated by Jaffe's. The Fire Department's basket was won by Mike McAlear, and that had the watch for the ladies donated by Jaffe's.
Looking mighty fine in elegant gowns and cocktail ensembles and tuxedos and suits as they hobnobbed with other community movers and shakers were Pete and Polly Gerken, Dean and Susan Sparks, Michael and Ellen Fruchtman, Pam Hershberger, Chris and Ann Kozak, and honorary chairmen, Jeff and Laurie Jaffe. Also seen were Ly Kim and Matt Davie, Tom Waniewski, Andrea France, Steve and Mary Saddemi, and Tony and Debbie Frogameni.