The 2011 social scene, a haven for community leaders, provided some mighty remarkable events. Here are a few of the most outstanding of the past year:
The Toledo Symphony performed at Carnegie Hall. Accompanying the orchestra to New York on Kentucky Derby weekend were about 1,400 Toledoans. The next big stop is China in 2012.
The 32nd Senior Open presented by the United States Golf Association took place this summer at Inverness Club. It was a real coup for Toledo, and much more than golf. Corporate suites were abuzz with hob-nobbers including Toledo's biggest fan -- Jamie Farr -- who is looking forward to the return of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger Aug. 6-13 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. The Open was attended by about 94,000 people and raised $200,000 for local charities. Thanks go to the golfers, the 2,300 volunteers, and the thousands who attended in spite of the sultry weather. And bravo to winner Olin Browne.
Toledo Museum of Art's Winter Ball "An Evening of Fire and Ice" in the Glass Pavilion in December was a breathtaking scene, with icy-blue back lighting that changed later to fiery reds, oranges, and yellows. Wonderful and artfully displayed edibles included everything from hot and spicy to icy and dicey. Martini and wine bars quenched thirsts along with a tented Scotch, Bourbon, and Cigar Bar decorated with sparkling chandeliers. Keeping things sizzling were the glass-blowing demonstrations and fire performers. But the real hot news is that the event -- at $500 per person -- raised more than $220,000.
Opening day in April for the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field was a home run with about 12,500 attendees. It was also a major social gathering of community leaders in the corporate suites. Ditto for the Walleye Opener at Huntington Center in October with about 8,000 attendees.
The Opening of the Port, Memorial Day weekend, kicked off the boating season. Commodores and yacht club members gathered for a formal blessing of the fleet and waters.
Music and fashion collided for the PNC EPIC Rocks Fashion Show presented by EPIC Toledo and The Blade for about 1,100 attendees in the Grand Aire Hangar of Toledo Express Airport. The September event reaped a lot of fun, highlighted breast cancer survivors as models, and also made a few thousand dollars for EPIC projects.
Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce's Clam Bake at the Toledo Zoo was on a scorcher of a day in July at more than 100 degrees, but it didn't stop area businessmen from sipping clam chowder and dining on lobster. Nearly 700 attended just for fun and social networking.
Miss Debutante 2011 -- Olivia Phifer of Maumee Valley Country Day School -- was crowned during the 47th annual Debutante Cotillion presented by the Toledo affiliate of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs. College-bound high school girls, all dressed in full-skirted white gowns, were presented in May to society as women. It was a beautiful sight.
The Toledo Opera Guild, celebrating 50 years, hosted Sapphire Blues, a busy night of fancy hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, a fashion show, and more in November. It raised more than $22,000 for the Toledo Opera Association.
The historic Valentine Theatre, always an experience with its rich reds and golds, featured Alvin Ailey II, a colorful dance production, for its annual Gala in October. The event netted $75,000.
Toledo Zoo's "Zoo-To-Do" included a sell-out crowd of 1,800 partygoers in June and raised nearly $190,000.
Jazz man Jon Hendricks, creator of vocalese, celebrated his 90th birthday in November with 300 of his closest admirers. And he also celebrated by performing with Trombone Shorty, who was in town at the Peristyle, thanks to the Art Tatum Jazz Society.
Nearly 1,000 people came to the Toledo Club for Share Our Strength's 16th Annual Taste of the Nation in May. Guests tasted wines and dined on great food by 40 local chefs and restauranteurs and met national chefs Celina Tio of Kansas City and Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York. The nearly $120,000 that was raised went to Aurora Project, Inc., Toledo Day Nursery, Toledo Grows, and Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.
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