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Published: Sunday, 2/26/2012

On the Town: Toledo celebrates Mardi Gras

BY BARBARA HENDEL
BLADE SOCIETY EDITOR

Fifi's Reprise was the setting for a Mardi Gras party hosted by Michael and Sharon Sordyl on Fat Tuesday. The signature Fifi's candlelight, black-linen-covered tables, tunes on a baby grand piano, and red roses enhanced this private party featuring the signature Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold with feathers, beads, and glittery masks.

Mr. Sordyl and Fifi's staff prepared a Cajun menu that included a feast of crawfish etoufee, shrimp, jambalaya, turtle soup, corn bread, and New Orleans black muffins along with sinfully delicious pecan pie and ice cream.

Partygoers were encouraged to donate to the Valentine Theatre, Alzheimer's Association, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Guests included Ann Baker, who lost her husband at the age of 59 recently to Alzheimer's, and Shirley Flowers of Englewood, Fla., who also lost her husband to Alzheimer's a few years ago.

Also seen were chef Wendy Kromer-Schell, Larry and LouAnn Croy, who owned Croys's Restaurant and make Garlic Expressions salad dressing. Food connoisseurs included Duke and Martha Wheeler, Chris Weiland, Dave Reed, Tom and Traci Schwann, Dee and Joe Spencer, Carroll and Dorothy Ashley, Steven and May Ariss, Malcolm and Peggy Richards, Ian Toner, Marcy and Brian McMann, Ralph and Karen DeNune, Bruce Denman and Barbe Fisher, Rick and Annie Strause, Barbara Baumgartner, Elizabeth Foley, Linde Webb, Cindy and Jack Niggemyer, Marti Zarkower, and many others including Clare and Joel Gorski, and her sister Amy Smith and his mom Luci Gorski with Bob Billstein.

Pardi Paws

Jazz and Jambalaya were featured at the Toledo Animal Shelter's "Pardi Paws" presented by KeyBank at Holiday Inn French Quarter on Fat Tuesday. More than 100 supporters attended the first-time event that raised an estimated $7,000, according to Helen Bensch, executive director.

Green, purple, and gold balloons, masks, and flowers decorated the place and Ragtime Rick and the Chefs of Dixieland played peppy tunes as folks ate, danced, shopped the silent auction and Auxiliary items, and posed for pictures. Pralines wrapped in cat and dog motifs served as party favors.

The Blade's retired food editor Mary Alice Powell just couldn't stop dancing. Ditto for long-time shelter board member Barney Stickles. Randy Schnee brought his masks and beads from New Orleans where he attended a Cajun cooking school a few years ago.

Also seen were Allan and Pat Timmerman, Marlene Uhler, Stephen Bowe, John Donofrio, Susan Conda, Sharon Simmons and Ron Coffman, Marshall and Cathy Isenberg, Howard and Dee Schultz and son David, Carol Buchannan, Margaret and Bill Foster, Sandy Alexander, Ned Hein and Kathleen Ryan, Pat Hunter, Jell Millns, and shelter auxiliary president Nancy Ligibel.

Gulf Shore

Toledoans Suzy and Richard Bond were at their Gulf Shores vacation home in the Mobile, Ala., area for Mardi Gras. Mrs. Bond said Mobile is where Mardi Gras started in 1703, even though New Orleans gets all the publicity.

They connected with former Toledo resident Marybeth Manseau and Joe Whelan of Cleveland. Among the carnival festivities they attended were the mystic society of the Daughters of Neptune's Bal Masque, where everyone was in lavish formal costumes. The festive affair included entertainment tableside, music, food, and beverages with the queen of the ball.

Elsewhere

The Jeff McDonald Orchestra celebrated Fat Tuesday at Trotters Tavern. Singer Fred Goodell was featured along with Danny Welch, Willie Rough, and others.

A Valentine's Evening of Jazz was presented by St. Phillip Lutheran Church Feb. 18 at the Pinnacle. Entertainment included Jesse Coleman and the Jamm Band featuring vocalist Vicky Simpson-Brooks, and Jenese & Company.



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