The 134th Run for the Roses was a great excuse for many an afternoon soiree here in Toledo.
SYLVANIA Country Club hosted its annual Derby Party Saturday with Diane Churdar as chairman. Mrs. Churdar and her hubby, Paul, just returned from Arizona, and she planned the party from there.
Mint juleps flowed as the classy crowd mingled, dined, and danced. Ladies were especially lovely in spring dresses and suits and hats too, while gents sported coats and ties. Among the guests caught looking especially good were Mrs. Churdar, John and Linda Graham, Ann and John Meier, Pat and Jim Strausser, Dock and Cindy Treece, and Joan Oswald.
THE EIGHTH Annual Derby Days exhibition at 20 North Gallery was kicked off Saturday during the derby with a reception. It features equine art by 11 local, regional, and national artists including John Dooner, Carol M. Gorney, Joanne Grossmann, Jeri Hollister, Joyce Lister, Matthew Mickel, Elaine Mikel, Rachel Nasatir, Baker O'Brien, Merv Russell, and Mike Sohikian.
The horse-themed artwork included paintings, photography, prints, and sculpture.
During the reception, there was an informal trunk show of "Derby Hats" by contemporary millinery designers, courtesy of The Preacher's Wife Fine Millinery shop.
Everyone chatted about the upcoming talk, "The Sport of Kings: The History of Thoroughbred Racing," by the gallery's art director, Peggy Brennan Grant, 4 p.m. May 17, the day of the Preakness. She will share her stories about her family's 100 years of contributions to horse racing in America.
The exhibit runs through June 15, noon-4 p.m. Tuesday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
RAY Henderson and Kent Stephens hosted a Derby Party at their lakefront Stone Oak home Saturday. And while they were at it, they purchased a few baubles - custom crafted Hope Stone necklaces - to raffle off with $600 proceeds to benefit the Race for the Cure. The lucky winners were Stephanie Kwitkowski and Maureen McCormick.
The 60 guests mingled as they feasted on edibles, washed them all down with mint juleps, and topped it all off with derby pies.
Among those on the guest list were Jack and Cyndi Sculfort, John and Ann Mangus, Joel and Davie Epstein, and Bill and Liz Perry.
WOMEN spare no expense to be seen with the most fabulous hat, said Jill Henning of Jill Henning Fineries in Toledo. She's made a name for her millinery business at the derby. Despite the slow economy, she said she's taken the most orders in eight years. Last year she made 80 hats, and this year her output was nearly 150. The majority of her clients are the horse trainers and wives of horse owners and others from all over the United State. However, Ms. Henning said, she's received "no orders from Toledo ladies."
This year Ms. Henning said she made hats for the wife of Duane Moore, a Country Western singer, among many other women who just have to have a hat for the Kentucky Derby.
Ms. Henning watched television and saw a few of her hats, but most of her creations were in Millionaires' Row and indoor corporate clubhouses.
While watching the derby and its festivities she didn't waste time: She made her next chapeau for next week's Nashville Steeplechase.
"Millinery for horse racing has become a nearly full year of events to create for," Ms. Henning said.
SEVERAL Toledo area folks did go to the Louisville over the weekend, including Jane Larsen. Also at Churchill Downs were Mark and Beth Christoff, Suzy and Gary Zies, and others.
They attended the Legislative Brunch at the Brown and Williamson Club sponsored by Churchill Downs. There Mr. Christoff had his picture taken with Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico. At the derby, they sat in the second row box by the finish line.
"A NIGHT at the Races a sure bet for Serenity Farm" was Friday night at Raceway Park. Serenity Farm is a nonprofit therapeutic program to treat a variety of physical and behavioral disorders through equine and canine-assisted programs.
The night included dinner, betting slips, raffle prizes, a photo in the "Winner's Circle," a racing program, and a quick course on betting for the novice.
A big raffle was for a 2009 Kentucky Derby Weekend Getaway Package, which was won by Joanne Grossmann. So far more than $2,000 has been netted. That's thanks to the efforts of the Advertising Club of Toledo who created the signature event that got Raceway Park on board.
Remember, when you're headed for a day at the races, the Alexis Road exit is closed and not expected to open until the middle of the month.
CINCO de Mayo is celebrated every year on May 5, which is today, in Mexico and the United States. The date commemorates the defeat by President Benito Juarez and the Mexican army over Austrian Archduke Maximilian and Napoleon III's forces in 1862 in Puebla, Mexico.
So, in honor of the day, several celebrations took place last week:
•Izzy's 20th Annual Cinco de Mayo was hosted by Playmakers Sports Eatery, which just opened in June, with Grand Marshal Anita Lopez.
More than 300 guests came in and out during the day and evening. It was fun for the whole family during the day, but at night, the outdoor patio was filled by couples dancing to Latin tunes spun by Tony Rios. Guests feasted on ethnic treats, including hot tamales.
There were contests for jalapeno eating, the best sombrero or hat, and more. Special performances included the Ballet Folklorico Imagenes Mexicanas, the Tony Orlando Review by Homero Oritz, and comedian Speedy Juan.
Izzy Oritz, chairman, said while the day was a celebration he expects to net funds for the Heroes In Action.
•The Cinco de Mayo party presented annually by Re/Max Preferred Associates was May 1 at Liquid Ultra Lounge.
A Mexican food buffet by Nancy Montrie and lots of liquid to wash it all down sated appetites and quenched thirsts, but it was Alexis, 8, an ambassador for Children's Miracle Network, who tugged at everyone's heart.
First she assisted auctioneer Jack Amlin, enticing guests to bid high and often. A pink bicycle, donated by Marcia Rubini, reaped $500 from Kathy Anstead. Then Alexis performed Ring of Fire with The Menus' Tim Goldrainer, lead vocalist.
The committee included Cindi Kurtz, Kathy Kuyoth, Nancy Montrie, Joan Rauh, Aimee Roemer, Ms. Rubini, Debbie Peterscheim, John Carrocci, Cathy Smith, and John Mangas, who was chairman.
The goal was to net more than $20,000 for the Children's Miracle Network and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Last year's total was $22,000.
There were other parties too.
•The Junior League of Toledo held its annual Sustainer Spring Party April 30 at the beautiful riverfront home of Linda Bunda in Eagle Point Colony.
More than 50 ladies of all ages sipped and nibbled, but mainly chatted the late afternoon away. It was not time for business but a reunion of friends made while volunteering in the community.
Let's see, there was Sarah Strong, Marcia Deeb, Susan Reams, Kitsie Valiton, Ica Sutter, and many, many more. It's a great example of how when you give to others, you get so much more in return.
•A Gala dinner, Fallen Timbers: A Legacy of Leadership presented by Fallen Timbers Battlefield Preservation Commission and Buckeye Cablesystem, was April 25 at Parkway Place.
Featured was Peyton "Bud" Clark of Dearborn, Mich. He is a great-great-great-grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Captain Clark has retraced the path of his famous ancestors and has a personal collection of artifacts.
Guests sipped spirited beverages including The Wayne-tini and the Clark's Nutcracker as they shopped the silent auction loaded with interesting books, folk art, baskets, and dinner and entertainment certificates.
Each guest received a "daily ration" but fortunately, their appetites were sated with a delicious dinner of appetizers, a soup bar, salmon or beef, and homemade bread.
Lissa Guyton of WNWO-TV, Channel 24, emcee and a board member, kept the evening on target beginning with the pledge of allegiance and invocation.
Gen. Lance Talmage, M.D., retired U.S. Army, led guests in several toasts. Honorary chairmen were John Jaqua, Don Moyer, and John Howard.
Hosts of the evening were Dr. Talmage, Barb Knisley, Ben Marsh, Sue Horvath, and Priscilla Schwier.
In charge of the program were Cathy Chamberlain, Trina Houser, Ms. Knisley, Louella Rupp, Nanci Westrick, and Jayne Zimmerman.
Marianne Britt Duvendack, president, said proceeds benefit the Fallen Timbers and Fort Miami national historic sites.
•Dress to a Tea was the name of the membership party April 16 for the Toledo Opera Guild. And ladies did just that as they sipped tea and nibbled petite sandwiches in the lovely Ottawa Hills home of Judy Finkel.
Hosts of the afternoon soiree were Ann Galloway and Pauline Tate.