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Published: Thursday, 5/1/2008

Taste of the Nation Toledo was a delicious event

There are many great events in Toledo, and among them is Share Our Strengths' Taste of the Nation Toledo, held Sunday night at Cousino's Navy Bistro.

The 13th annual event to benefit relief programs not only has a wow factor with fantastic culinary delights, wine, and music, but it draws a stylish crowd, many in gowns and tuxedos. One hundred percent of the ticket sales support relief programs and the event is part of the 20th annual national benefit presented by American Express.

The estimated $120,000 raised brings the total since Toledo's Taste began in 1996 to more than $1 million. This year's funds support Toledo Grows, Toledo Day Nursery, Aurora House, and Toledo Northwest Ohio Food Bank.

Labib Hajjar, left, and Terri Thompson were among the chairmen for Taste of the Nation Toledo. Labib Hajjar, left, and Terri Thompson were among the chairmen for Taste of the Nation Toledo.
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The sold-out event for 1,000 people, which included more than 500 individual tickets sold at $150 each, was directed by chairmen Marla Schecht, Labib Hajjar, Moussa Salloukh, and Terri Thompson. Honorary chairmen were Diane Larson of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Gary Marck of International Tableware, Inc., and Tom McHugh of Heidelberg Distributing Co.

Raffle prizes included items from Taylor Hyundai, Joseph Licata Jewelers, Calphalon, and more. Richard Joseph, there with his wife, Shirley, won a jacket from Toledo Furs. He was delighted, but nothing compares to meeting the Dalai Lama, which he did with his family in Ann Arbor recently.

Among the guests were former restaurateur Frank Unkle, looking healthy and dapper in his fancy threads, right down to his matching shoes, there with his wife, Sharon. Janet LeGolvin, there with her husband, Dennis, was delighted to get a cutting of an herb from one of the booths. Tom Cousino was all smiles.

Also seen were Larry and Terri Schmakel, Denise and Terry Benton, Tom Schlachter, Jennifer and Joe Marra, Pat and Andrea Gibbons, Lee Tebbetts, Tom DuBose, and Karen Murphy.

The Bridges band cranked up after appetites were sated, and the crowd danced the rest of the night away. A drive-safe program was front and center, thanks to Bedford Limousines.

Josh Bryer, a guest at Taste of the Nation Toledo, and Diane Larson, one of the honorary chairmen. Josh Bryer, a guest at Taste of the Nation Toledo, and Diane Larson, one of the honorary chairmen.
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Behind the scenes there was all kinds of help. The steering committee included Craig Joseph, Dean Kasperzak, Gus Mancy, and Ty Szumigala, with 36 committee members who worked all year to make it happen. Chris Paterwich sold the most tickets, 42 of them, among the 27 ticket ambassadors. Right on his heels were Mindy Romanoff and David Joseph, who sold 41 each.

Nearly 40 restaurants, chefs, and their staff donated food and time. About 60 corporate sponsors stepped up to the plate. More than 100 volunteers started set up on Friday morning and didn't finish tearing down until Monday.

BOATING season is nearly here. In the meantime, members of North Cape Yacht Club hosted a wine tasting March 29 at the organization's lake front clubhouse near LaSalle, Mich. It was a benefit for the Olympic campaign of NCYC sailor Anna Tunnicliffe, a member of the club.

Ms.Tunnicliffe, 24, was born in England and is a graduate of Perrysburg High School, where she was a star athlete in track and field. When she started sailing at an early age, her family joined North Cape Yacht club, and the rest is history. She graduated from Old Dominion Universoty where she was an award-winning sailor. Now she is the No. 1 ranked woman laser radial sailor in the world and will represent the US in the 2008 Olympics.

Nearly 70 friends tasted seven wines served with breads, cheese, pates, and other tasty edibles prepared and donated by several members, including Charlie Antal and Jan Kilbride, Jeff and Beth Eischen, Nancy and Norm Gladieux, Linda and Tom Grime, Barb Hickey, and Marilyn and Jeff Mackay.

The night was extra fun for Laurie Dieball, the raffle winner of a three-liter bottle of Heritage Zinfandel donated by Dry Creek.

All of the money collected - $5,600 - went to the cause, thanks to events sponsors Bill and Susan Bollin, Chip Gossman, Gary Hall, Joe Lark, Brad and Lisa Lay, Alan Newell and Heidi Schultz, and Larry and Jody Zaiser.

Assisting Harold Hoffman, event chairman, with the evening were Jeff, Ian, and Colin Mackay, Beth Mooney, Richard and Susan Huelsberg, Heidi Schultz, Al Newell, and Eileen Hoffman.

A WINE and cheese party was April 6 in the lovely home of Traci and Tom Schwann. It was a kickoff for the upcoming Toledo Opera Guild's Night and Day Fashion Show slated for May 7 buffet and May 8 luncheon at Inverness Club. Featured will be fashions from Sophia Lustig Shop, Sophie's Sister, Michael David Limited, and Kids Klothesline.

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