Lamont Thurston, of Toledo, left, and his wife Heather, center, listened to Toledo Zoo Deputy Director Ron Fricke talk about the zoo's elephants on the Tembo Trail at Feast with the Beasts at the Toledo Zoo.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH
Dining al fresco is enchanting under a moonlit night and fun on a sunny afternoon. There are numerous establishments around town that have outdoor patios, some on the water, others right in the middle of the city, all providing that chance to enjoy the outdoors.
PHOTO GALLERY: Area restaurant patios
Outdoor patios are in Point Place on the Ottawa River, at The Docks on the Maumee River across from downtown Toledo, and at all kinds of restaurants around town, including Rosie's Italian, Shaun's on West bancroft, Star Bar, Mancy's Italian, Clamdiggers, Bayshore Supper Club, Cousino's Steakhouse, and Chowders 'N Moor. But one that popped up temporarily was at the Toledo Zoo.
About 150 guests paid $250 each to sip cocktails, dine, walk the new Tembo Trail, and watch hippos devour a watermelon at the ninth annual Feast with the Beasts presented by PNC on Aug. 24. Dinner was served on the patio of the African Lodge with black linen-covered tables set with candles, flowers, and wine glasses as twinkle lights and stars peeked from trees and tropical plants. Wines, compliments of Heidelberg Distributing, flowed with each course of the gourmet dinner. The meal ended with a unique red champagne, said Tom McHugh of Heidelberg, who quipped "It's Tuscany in Toledo at the Zoo!"
PHOTO GALLERY: Feast with the Beasts
New zoo executive director Jeff Sailer, who had only been on board three weeks, welcomed everyone and circulated through the group.
A quick five-item live auction included a Wildside Tour in southeast Ohio with a stay at Ann Sanford's home, a picnic in the zoo's Nature's Neighborhood, an evening party on Tembo Trail, a Lights Before Christmas party, and a digital painting of the buyer's choice by Steve Brown bought by Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc. and his wife Susan.
Parting gifts were Jan Pugh-designed plates compliments of PNC and given by Tim Coleman and Deb Ernsthausen of PNC. This year's design was a white lion.
Board chairman Mary Ellen Pisanelli, there with Lou Tosi, was all smiles over the large turnout. Seen were Mike and Carol Anderson, George and Leslie Chapman, Zac and Dee Isaac, Marna and Suresh Ramnath, John and Yolanda Szuch, Cindy Rerucha and John MacKay, Jackie Rousseau Werner, Margie and Rich Heck, Jim and Mary Ann Kline, Ditte and Michael Galbraith, Bill and Paula Fall, Willard and Ve Emch, John and Ann Meier, Sally Binard, Jon Orser and Deborah Born, Ron Coffman and Sharon Simmons, and Tom and Karen Baither who recalled the first Feast where there were only a few tables of people.
The estimated $50,000 netted supports zoo programs and exhibits.
IF you have a favorite outdoor patio that is open to the public, be sure to let me know.