Former Toledoan and LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis, center, along with her boyfriend Stephen Cornillie, right, chat with gala entertainer, comedian Tom Papa, left.
THE BLADE/BARBARA HENDEL
LPGA competition starts today in at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I, but tournament events have been going on for days.
Tuesday night was the Hollywood Casino Gala Dinner at SeaGate Centre with 1,600 reservations.
Since 1984, the tournament has donated $7.75 million to more than 100 northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan children's charities.
Ten charities are the recipients this year, plus the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the founding host of the tournament that was formerly known as the Jamie Farr Classic. The 2013 scholarship recipients are Sabrina Brown, Edon High School; Jesse Eckert, Findlay High School; Beth Ann Less, St. Ursula Academy; and Samantha Martin, Clinton (Mich.) High School.
PHOTO GALLERY: Hollywood Casino Toledo Marathon Classic Gala
This year's charities are Bittersweet Farms, Diabetes Youth Services, Imagination Station, Serenity Farm Equestrian Center, Special Olympics Ohio Area 4, Sylvania Area Family Services, Together We Can Make A Difference Initiatives, Toledo Hearing & Speech Center, Toledo Seagate Foodbank of NW Ohio, and Ronald McDonald House Charities, the first year's charity recipient.
Emcee Diane Larson of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, who has been the emcee for several years, welcomed everyone and kept the evening on par.
Jon James of WNWO-TV, Channel 24, and Lee Conklin and Dave Holmes of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, enticed attendees to bid on silent auction items via their cell phones.
Gary Heminger, president and CEO, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, said LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis, who is on the current Marathon commercial with his grandchildren, is a great mentor. He reminded everyone about the Marathon free gas give-a-way raffle during the tournament this week. Stop by the Marathon tent on the 18th green to enter. One winner every hour will receive a $100 gas certificate and on Sunday at 3 p.m. three winners will receive $500 gas cards.
Marathon Classic general chairman Richard Hylant, in the audience, said this tournament would not be possible without the past support of Jamie Farr, the title and presenting sponsors, and sponsors such as Kroger, which over the years has been a title and presenting sponsor, and still remains a heavily involved sponsor. In the audience was Bruce Umbleby, Kroger district manager.
Honored guest, 2012 champion So Yeon Ryu, modestly chatted about this week's tournament, saying she was not nervous, but acknowledged that a fortune cookie she got at a Chinese restaurant on Sunday night when she arrived in Toledo said "You will get what your heart desires."
Comedian Tom Papa, who said he was glad to be back here again, joked about Toledo, his family vacations, marriage, and women.
Libido, labeled as Miami's hottest dance band, cranked up the tunes for guests who packed the dance floor and danced the night away.