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Published: Wednesday, 5/7/2008

A variety of events promises to promote a festive spirit

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
As seen from the Anthony Wayne Bridge, fireworks explode over the Maumee River to mark the Fourth of July.
As seen from the Anthony Wayne Bridge, fireworks explode over the Maumee River to mark the Fourth of July.
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Let s not hear anyone out there complaining that there s nothing to do in the region.

If you have entertainment issues, they re more likely to be about having too many choices. From now through fall, festivals will be nearly as thick as mayflies in June.

Here are 10 of the biggest and best. Many more can be found at Web sites such as www.DiscoverOhio.com, michigan.org, and www.dotoledo.org, and in the list accompanying this article.

So smear on the sunscreen and put on your baggiest shorts (the better to eat until you re bursting).

Off you go.

• Historic Old West End Festival and Home Tours, June 7-8. They don t build em like they used to and if you don t believe it, take a home tour, or just a lazy walk in Toledo s Old West End when the elegant old dame throws her annual party. These are homes with hyphenated names and leaded-glass windows, multitiered staircases and egg-and-dart molding. After your tour, wander through the art fair, listen to music, and chat up the friendly residents as you browse for treasures at garage sales. Information: Mansion View Inn, 419-244-5676.

• 8th annual LatinoFest, sponsored by The Blade, June 14. For anyone who has ever had to wait for a table at a jam-packed Mexican restaurant, this one s for you. Taking place this year at the Lucas County Fairgrounds, you ll have plenty of elbow room to feast on this celebration of Latino culture in all of its diversity. Sample the visual and performing arts as well as the culinary, including a People s Choice salsa competition. Information: latinofesttoledo.com

• 43rd Annual Crosby Festival of the Arts, June 28-29. If you re an art lover, there may be no better place to be on this summer weekend. Search for pretties that call to you from little white tented booths that snake through Toledo Botanical Garden. Choose from hundreds of artists who will tempt you with glass, ceramics, photography, painting, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media, graphics, wood, and fiber. You ll be reaching for your favorite media: plastic. Information: toledogarden.org

• The Blade s Red, White, K-Boom! 4th of July Celebration, July 4-5. Hot off the presses! It s brand new, a combination of the Taste of the Town and the city s July 4 gala, brought to you by The Blade in conjunction with Columbia Gas, Taylor Automotive, and the Northwest Ohio Restaurant Association. Head to Promenade Park downtown to sample dishes from Toledo s eateries, and watch the area s largest fireworks display on Saturday night. Come back Sunday for the restaurants you didn t get to the first time around. Information: redwhitekaboom@toledoblade.com

• Lagrange Street Polish Festival, July 11-13. This one s a two-fer, because St. Hedwig Catholic Church at Lagrange and Dexter streets holds its festival on the same weekend. Pack it in during your trip to Toledo s Polish Village: pierogies, kielbasa, sweet-and-sour cabbage, paczki, and pigs-in-the-blanket. When you can t eat another bite, rest up while listening to polka bands and checking out craft vendors. Information: polishfestival.org

• 25th Annual Andersons Northwest Ohio Rib-Off, Aug. 7-10. Is that a blob of barbecue sauce on your chin? And another on your shirt? And all over your fingers? No matter so many people here wear sauce that it s practically the official uniform of the Rib-Off, which takes place at the Lucas County Fairgrounds in Maumee. Rocker Ted Nugent and country music singer/songwriter Gary Allan head the entertainment lineup this year. Information:andersonsriboff@toledoblade.com

• 34th Annual Birmingham Ethnic Festival, Aug. 17. Organizers call this A Sunday in the Old Country, which on this particular Sunday is conveniently located on Consaul Street between Front and Milford streets in East Toledo. No passport required. This festival has been called a reunion for people who once lived in the neighborhood that was settled by eastern European immigrants, many of them Hungarians who came here after the revolution in 1956. Join them for a celebration of all things Hungarian. Information:birminghamethnicfestival.org

• German-American Festival, Aug. 22-24. It s the granddaddy of Toledo s ethnic festivals the oldest and largest, sponsors say. Held at Oak Shade Grove in Oregon, it s beloved for its music and dancing, German beers and wines, traditional foods such as bratwurst and potato pancakes, and offbeat features such as the annual Hummel look-alike contest for children and Swiss stone-throwing for men and women. Information: gafsociety.org

• Greek-American Festival, Sept. 5-7. Inhale deeply ahhhh. The intoxicating aroma is coming from the food tent, where volunteers dish up Greek favorites such as moussaka, spanakopita, dolmathes, chicken oregano on rice pilaf, pork souvlaki, rice pudding, shish kabob, and gyros. Find a table on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in downtown Toledo, listen to music, watch the costumed dancers, tour the cathedral, and enjoy being Greek for awhile. Information: toledogreekfest.com

• Grand Rapids Applebutter Festival, Oct. 12. OK, kids, it s time for some history! And it ll be fun! Honest! The canal town bash will include re-enactors and demonstrations of pioneer skills such as candle dipping and blacksmithing. But apple butter is the star of the event, bubbling in three 50-gallon copper kettles in the village park. More than 2,300 pints of the sweet spread will be for sale and you d be smart to get yours early. They go fast. Information: applebutterfest.org

Contact Ann Weber at:aweber@theblade.comor 419-724-6126.



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