Celebrity wait nights are a popular way to warm a wintry evening while raising money for the community. Guests pay for their meals and tips go to charity.
CENTRAL Catholic High School's "The One" Celebrity Wait Night March 7 at the Pinnacle netted $20,000. Tom Maj, president, welcomed everyone and the Rev. Matt Rader gave the invocation before a delish fish dinner — it was the first Friday of Lent, so what else would be served?
Emcee Joseph H. Zerbey IV, president and general manager of The Blade, got the ball rolling. Recognized was the late Henry "Hank" Herschel, who was roasted at last year's event. His widow, Pam, and daughter, Meredith Hustwick, were present.
While there were celebrity waiters, the focus of the evening was the roast and toast of this year's honored guest, Marty Holmes, a noted divorce attorney and community supporter who is a graduate of Central Catholic.
Roasters were Dick Faist, philanthropist and businessman; Jay Feldstein, attorney; Jim Shindler, attorney; and Carty Finkbeiner, former Toledo mayor and community activist.
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Among the barb's were: No one wants to play golf with Marty because he represented their first wife in the divorce; and his tombstone will not say he was a great lawyer and community leader, it will say, "the father of Katie Holmes."
Mr. Holmes, who has been married to his wife, Kathy, for 47 years gave a simple rebuttal: "Don't criticize, don't complain, do something positive here in Toledo. ... God bless all of you!" The crowd of 290 family and friends responded with a standing ovation.
A MAGICAL evening was Once Upon A Vine presented by Fifth Third Bank Feb. 28 at the Toledo Zoo in the Nairobi Pavilion. Diners sat amidst the Spring Alive: Fairy Tales, Fables, and Flowers winter garden show featuring vignettes of childhood stories that made one's imagination come alive.
The new dinner event featured a gourmet meal paired with wines donated by Heidelberg Distributing Co. Mmm ... spinach salad, beet soup, pork tenderloin and creme Anglaise pyramid, plus great conversation.
Celebrity waiters were zoo staffers. Celebrity wine servers included Sue Bagdonas, Randi Dinon, Nancy Foley, Ron Fricke, Jay Hemdal, Andy Odum, Julie Payeff, Bonnie Rankin, Dennis Schnurbusch, Jeremy Ziesloft, Margo Stewart, and Rick Payeff.
Craig Herschel, auctioneer, led the bidding for three horticulture-related items and opportunities to support zoo garden areas.
Fifth Third Bank, the sponsor of the four-day flower extravaganza and the dinner's presenting sponsor, gave each guest a hand-blown glass flower as a parting gift.
Among the more than 100 diners were Mike and Carol Anderson, John and Yolanda Szuch, Bill and Sara Jane DeHoff, John and Ann Meier, Bill and Laura Rudolph, Dick and Robin LaValley, Dan and Jasmine Wakeman, Neema Bell, Dan and Erin Ebele, Jim Moore and Tim Valko, Peggy Amey and Bob Holder, and John and Sue Hadley and Judy Wolfe of New York City, who is a volunteer at the Central Park Zoo.
The estimated net is $25,000. Kudos to committee members: Susan Allan Block, Deborah Born, Beth Bowman, Susan Conda, Elizabeth Foley, Sandra Hylant, Kim Kearns, Elaine LaValley Lewandowski, Mary Ellen Pisanelli, and Ann Sanford.
Other celebrity wait events included:
● WOMEN'S Information Network & Aurora Project Inc. Wait Night March 10 at LaScola Italian Grill. Tips and an auction raised an estimated $10,000 for Aurora House, a housing and life skills program to empower homeless women and their children. Bravo to event chairman Maggie Hernandez of Owens Corning WIN, one of the sponsors.
● THE second annual "Monday Gras" Celebrity Wait Night presented by the Toledo Jazz Orchestra March 3 at Treo Restaurant. The TJO Dixieland quartet performed as the 100 attendees enjoyed a New Orleans menu. More than $4,000 is the expected net.
Among the waiters were Scott and Judy Potter, Mark Lemle, Richard Schroeder, Mel and Barb Meyers, and David Tippett.
The jazz quartet played earlier that day for the Toledo Rotary at the Park Inn by Radisson, where a dancing line was led by Rotary president Dr. Riaz Chaudhary.
● THE Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women sixth annual Celebrity Wait Night Fund-raiser Feb. 13 at the Pinnacle. More than 350 attendees helped raise $34,000 for the University of Toledo program.
Among the 38 celebrity waiters were University of Toledo Board of Trustees chairman Joseph H. Zerbey, IV; UT women's basketball coach Tricia Cullop, and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's Thomas Winston.
● CHRIST Child Society's 19th annual Celebrity Wait Night was Feb. 3 at Real Seafood Co. & Zia's. The event, started by Nan Chezek and noted as the first of its kind in the area, raised over $28,000 for the all-volunteer organization to serve underprivileged children and their families.
Three hundred and twenty guests were served by 30-some celebrity waiters including Samir and Lucy Abu-Absi, Pete and Mary Lindquist, Bob Arthur, Pat Arthur, Barb and Bill Biggs, Jeanette and Henry Bradley, Candy Sturtz, Jane Larsen, Denise and John Monaghan, Sister Ann Carmen Barone, Mary Arquette, Cecile Bennett, president, and Bob and MaryEllen Bernardo, event chairman.
● FRIENDS of Toledo Day Nursery "Let Friends Take Your Order" Waiter Event Feb. 23 at LaScola Italian Grill. Fifty supporters of the early care and education program raised $4,000. There were no celebrity waiters, but they all enjoyed the delightful dinner served by real waiters.
Seen were Konni Bostleman, Marcia McCready, Darlene and Alan Carpenter, Lynda Gilbert, Jim and Lois Whiteman, Karen Merrels, Paula Mehring, Bill and Louise Barkan, and Jen Sorgenfrei.