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Published: Monday, 5/4/2009

OTT: Off to the races

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Claudia Richmond, left, Theresa Andrews, and Christina Stacy want their mint juleps during the Kiwanis Kentucky Derby Party at Inverness Club. Also pictured is Chris Seiple.
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<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>PHOTO GALLERY</b></font>: <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20090504&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=504009998&Ref=PH" target="_blank"> <b> Off to the races</b></a> <br> Claudia Richmond, left, Theresa Andrews, and Christina Stacy want their mint juleps during the Kiwanis Kentucky Derby Party at Inverness Club. Also pictured is Chris Seiple. <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>PHOTO GALLERY</b></font>: <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20090504&Kategori=COLUMNIST10&Lopenr=504009998&Ref=PH" target="_blank"> <b> Off to the races</b></a>
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The 135th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs is a little more than 300 miles away from the Toledo area, but fans didn t have to be in Lousiville to celebrate the Kentucky Derby. On Saturday, folks in hats sipped mint juleps and indulged in other southern traditions tied to the two-minute horse race. But of course, other events made the local society scene hot to trot.

Run for the Roses

THE KIWANIS Club of Toledo held its first-time-ever Kentucky Derby-themed party at Inverness Club. The evening included a silent auction, hors d oeuvres, dinner, a hat parade and contest, and more.

The local club, started in 1916, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of children in central Toledo, John Sluhan, president, said.

SYLVANIA Country Club hosted its annual Run for the Roses Derby Party with betting windows, Derby-inspired food stations, mint juleps, and more.

Country-club casual was the attire, of course, with hats. Dennis Guenther and Emotional Baggage played tunes all night long.

Meanwhile, members of Highland Meadows Golf Club had their own Derby affair.

For those who do not have their hearts way down south in Dixie, a mint julep is basically a bourbon snow cone with a sprig of mint and a splash of sugar.

MAUMEE River Yacht Club hosted its Run for the Roses Commodore s Ball Saturday at Raceway Park, which is celebrating its 50th live-racing season.

Back at the ball, the event was in honor of Comm. Lance Drossman and Lady Carrie. Ladies in gents in their best Derby-style attire and formal wear sipped and supped at a surf-and-turf buffet and top-shelf open bar as they watched and placed bets on the races, including the Derby.

Meanwhile, Vass Majority played tunes for listening and dancing.

20 NORTH Gallery s opening reception for the ninth annual Derby Days Equine Art Exhibit was Saturday too.

And just around the corner, on May 16, is the Preakness Day talk All the Kings Horses by Peggy Grant, who is slated to talk about her recent trip to Saudi Arabia and her tour of the royal stables of the sons of King Abdullah.

JILL Henning, local milliner, said: Despite the economy, the women just keep on spending.

Her customers were ordering last-minute chapeaux until last Tuesday, with overnight shipping to their Louisville hotels. The hats with big brims are popular for the Derby. However, last year and this year she introduced the European style, which is small and tall: small disc hats with lots of tiny flowers and large feathers going more vertical.

On Saturday she watched the races and festivities on ESPN all day, looking for her creations. She said she has two hats going today to New York socialites who are attending the annual Central Park Conservancy Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon.

Itza Ball, itza variety show

Tying into the day s Derby theme with chic hats as centerpieces was Itza Ball at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Toledo Rotary Foundation event, presented by The Andersons and BP-Husky Refining, featured the variety show, Itza Saturday Nightlive.

After schmoozing and dinner, and the silent and live auctions, it was on with the show. And what a show of wit and talent by members it was. There were jabs and stabs at local happenings and national concerns, and just-for-fun acts as Voodoo Libido band kept the beat going.

John Denver, aka Dick Wolff, impressed everyone with his singing. Dave Hancock made a great King Tut, especially since his harem included Nikki Hale, Monnie Holman, and Sue Stevenson. John Fedderke played his saxophone.

Tommy Roemer teamed up as Sonny and Cher with singer-songwriter Candice Coleman-Lange, who was on American Idol. Keith Burwell and Mark Jacobs were Wild and Crazy Guys with Wendy Gramza and Alice Kemmer: Mr. Jacobs proved he could ad lib when the cue cards were hard to read. Jerry Anderson and Chrys Peterson made a great Captain and Tennille. Chelsea Tipton, Fran and Dick Anderson, Mary Beth Zolik and Rick Woodell, Debra Monogan, Kathy Carroll, and others were also part of the act.

The grand finale was the reverse raffle sponsored by Brennan Industrial Truck Company, Taylor Automotive Family, and Yark Automotive Group, with a cash prize of $10,000. But easy come, easy go, says the winner, Eric Fankhauser, who donated the prize back to the cause.

Yukking it up with the rest of the crowd was George Eistetter, honorary chairman, past president, and Rotary member for 34 years. He lives by the national Rotary motto of Service above self and He profits most who serves best.

Among the 465 guests were Bev and Gary McBride, Bob and Katie Martin, Craig and Amy Findley, Rick and Jacque Yocum, Brian and Heather Hughes, Billie and Henry Johnson, Walt and Lois Churchill, Steve and Linda Stanford, Jim and Kay Delph, Ford and Phyllis Cauffiel, Brad and Julie Rubini, and Chuck and Carol Stocking.

Kathy Gries was event chairman. Assisting her were Barbara Berebitsky, co-chairman, and several steering committee members.

The real McCoys who put the event together included Jennifer Rockwood, director; James Norman, stage manager, and a host of others, including Andy Stuart, Tom Walton, Chuck Mann, Eric Parseghian, Sharon Skilliter, and Dan Moses.

Itza Ball estimated net is more than $15,000, however, totals are not yet available because the crew was resting up yesterday so its members could get back to their real jobs.

The foundation chairman is Tom Backoff and the Rotary president is Helyn Bolanis.

An encore for J.D. Wesley

Those in the know knew where the place to be was on Friday night. Encore by J.D. Wesley planned to open quietly, however, word spread, and instead of about 50 guests, more than 200 packed the place throughout the night.

It was hectic for chef John Wesley, who cooked nonstop all night long, but he was glad to be home again at his old location on Monroe Street. He said among what was prepared were 80 pounds of beef tenderloin, 60-plus pounds of sea scallops, 20 pounds of shrimp scampi, 20 pounds of steak tartar, 40 pounds of crawfish pasta, two cases of beefsteak tomatoes, and more.

Partners with Mr. Wesley are Rich Gallegos and Daniel Finch, who said it was exciting to see people pour in to see the place and to welcome J.D. back. Mr. Finch describes the cuisine as French with an American-regional flair, and said the place is open for dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 6 p.m.to 1 a.m. Fri-Sat., and for lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Opera birthday party

THE Toledo Opera s 50th Anniversary Celebration party was Saturday night at the Toledo Club after the fabulous Candide performance in the Toledo Museum of Arts Peristyle.

The festive occasion included champagne, hors d oeuvres, birthday cake, and dancing to HepCat Revival.

Honoree

Rabha EidI was honored during a banquet April 26 at Sylvania Country Club. About 200 people came to pay Mrs. Eidi tribute for her generosity over the years to the Lebanese diaspora.

She was was presented with the Expatriates Medal issued by the General Directorate of the Expatriates in the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.

Barbara Hendel is The Blade s society editor.

Contact her at: bhendel@theblade.comor 419-724-6124.



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