TASTE of the Nation Toledo: Help put a stop to childhood hunger was the place to be April 27 at Health CareREIT. More than 1,100 men and women paraded about in suits and tuxedos, and short cocktail dresses and long gowns. The crowd included guests, volunteers, committee members, chefs, wine servers, and bartenders. Such a mass, yet Top Hat Valet had it under control.
Honorary chairmen were Diane Larson, WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Mindy Romanoff, Romanoff Industries, and Dr. Jeff Kessler, Arrowhead Plastic Surgeons.
More than 40 local restaurants provided incredible food under a giant tent. Mmmm: scallops, shrimp, lamb, snake, beef tenderloin, pork, crab, sushi, and more, all prepared to tantalize the taste buds. Wines and beers of all kinds flowed. And desserts to die for were irresistible.
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Celebrity chefs were Dan Kluger/ABC Kitchen, New York, and David Posey/Blackbird, Chicago. Smash Toledo's Josh Wagey did demonstrations with chefs from many of the restaurants. PhotoBoothLive was fun for those who wanted to be in the limelight.
There were 22 raffle prizes and 200 tickets sold. Toledo Furs' sheared red beaver and dyed fox coat valued at $4,895 was won by Marilyn Reinstein; Harold Jaffe Jewelers' jewelry package with a $2,500 gift certificate was won by Rich Crawford; Taylor Automotive Family's $1,500 cash prize was won by Bonnie Oswald; Ottawa Hills Travel's $1,500 travel voucher for anywhere in the continental United States was won by Brenda Dymarkowski, and the Taste of the Nation package of limousine ride and six tickets to next year's event was won by Tina Wiley.
The 19th annual all-volunteer event netted around $170,000 to benefit Toledo GROWs, Toledo Day Nursery, Aurora Project, Inc., and Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. National sponsors were American Express and Sysco. There were more than 50 local sponsors including presenting sponsor Hickory Farms.
Tickets were sold out six weeks before the event, so if you want to attend next year, watch for the ticket sales announcement at the end of January or so and don't delay purchasing at www.toledotaste.org.
The event ended at 10 p.m. but the Venyx Band played later, accommodating the party-goers, many who continued the fun at the unofficial after party at Mulvaney Bunkers.
In the crush of it all were Tom McHugh, Jon and Nikki Frankel, Kate Brennan Backoff and Tom Brennan, Reeve and Betsy Kelsey, Joe and Kim Sofo, Jeff Cooley, George Ruman, Leo and Deb Deiger, Sandra Hylant, Omar and Lubna Salem, Chuck Mira, Rita Mansour, Jeannie Hylant, Paula and Peter Brown, and Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc. and his wife, Susan.
Chairmen were Labib Hajjar of Beirut, Byblos, and Poco Piatti; Marla Schecht, volunteer extraordinaire; Ty Szumigala of Maumee Indoor Theater, and Terri Thompson, ProMedica.
Members of the steering committee were Craig Joseph, Equity Planning Group; Dean Kasperzak, Dean Enterprizes; Gus Mancy, Mancy's Family of Restaurants and Catering, and Moussa Salloukh, LaScola Italian Grill, Mama La Scola's, and Burger Bar 145.
Volunteering at the event were many of the chairmen's daughters, the next generation being trained to give back to their community: Hannah Kasperzak, Maude Kasperzak, Samantha Schecht, Jessica Schecht, Rebecca Szumigala, and Jessica Thompson.
THE National Museum of the Great Lakes, owned and operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society, opened last weekend and wow! what an exhibit. It takes one back in time to shipwrecks and life on the great seas of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.
The museum is on Front Street along the Maumee River with the Veterans Glass City Skyway in the background, although one needs to go outside to see the spectacular view. Nearby is the newly restored 618-foot lake freighter, the Col. James. M. Schoonmaker (formerly the Willis B. Boyer) and also the 75-slip Skyway Marina.
Some 250 people attended a private reception April 25, the night before the museum opened.
Greeting guests were board chairman Bill Buckley and others. Assisting with the evening were Rotary volunteers from the Inter-Lake Yachting Association.
Great Lakes Brewing Company offered handcrafted beers, plus there were wine and beverages and hors d'oeuvres.
So much to see and do: hands-on displays, ships models, historical parapernalia, and more were intriguing and educating. There were ship's bells and life rings from the Mariposa, 1992, built by Pittsburgh Steamship Company; a replica of a Greyhound passenger day boat built in 1902, operating in Toledo and Detroit; a giant anchor from the USS Michigan, 1844, and an Edmund Fitzgerald display.
A brief film, The Great Lakes: A Powerful Force, talked about the destiny of thousands of ships and countless lives, and the ecology, climate, economy, recreation, fishing, and wildlife the lakes have affected.
Seen at the private reception were Mayor Mike Collins, George and Kathy Jones, Lynn and Darryl Lippman, Brenda and Tom Geiger, Tina and Rob Black, Ron and Jill Mickel, Heather and Bill McDonnell, Jerry Chabler, Dick and Fran Anderson, Peter Ujvagi, Dick and Kathy Faist, Frank Melhorn, Ditte and Michael Galbraith, Donna Burke, and Kathy Gries.
GUESTS who attended Lourdes University's 14th annual Luminations went home with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts after the night of performing arts and camaraderie April 26 in the Franciscan Center on campus.
Honorary chairmen John Bates and his wife, Sarah, joined university President David Livingston and his wife, Joan, in welcoming the more than 500 guests.
The evening started with a dinner of hors d'oeuvres by Lourdes' Chris Loe and the sounds of the Maxx Band as guests perused the silent auction. Joan Bayer won the bid for a Mercedes convertible summer lease donated by Paul Devers.
The popular "Dinner with the President" package prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Livingston, assisted by Bob and Mary Arquette, was purchased by Kaiko and John Zureich.
Emcee Chrys Peterson, Lourdes alumna and former WTOL-TV, Channel 11 anchor, introduced performances by the Toledo Ballet, Toledo Opera, Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet, and actor Timothy Shew, who performed a medley of Broadway show tunes. Mr. Shew, whose mother Susie Shew lives in Toledo, also performed Bring Him Home from Les Miz in memory of his friend, Jim Findlay, who was paid special tribute as a long time Lourdes supporter.
Lourdes student Callie Bunch gave a heartfelt thanks for the community's generous support. Her proud parents, Mike and Molly McCartney, and grandmother, Mary Pat Anderson, were in the audience to cheer her on. A scholarship auction followed raising $145,000.
After desserts and dancing, guests departed with complimentary cinnamon breads to enjoy the next morning — a small token of appreciation.
Seen were Susan Allan Block, Tom Geiger, Jr., and wife Paulette, Mike and Carol Anderson, Brian and Faye Darah, Mary Ann LaValley, Ann Galloway, Bill and Laura Rudolph, George Baibak, Milo and Chrissie Danzeisen, Lance and Wanda Tyo, and John and Ann Meier.
The event netted $257,000 for student scholarships. Since its inception in 2001, Luminations has raised $2.5 million for student scholarships.
Top sponsors were Heidtman Steel, Inc., Steel Dynamics, and Sylvania Franciscan Health.