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Published: Wednesday, 7/5/2006

Fireworks show sizzles for thousands along Maumee in downtown Toledo

BY CHRISTOPHER D. KIRKPATRICK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

With a promise of fireworks in their future, 4-year-old Dylan and 2-year-old Lydia sat quietly in a little red wagon pulled down Washington Street by their young parents.

On numerous Independence Days stretching into the past, Dylan and Lydia's parents, Rachel Toth, 28, and Keith Crable, 30 - at the time, children themselves - would walk with their families to an empty field, where Owens Corning's headquarters now sits, to watch Toledo's fireworks display.

Last night, the fireworks display came on schedule again for the parents and for the next generation. They live in Maumee now but came to the downtown Toledo for the event.

"We used to go to the Warehouse District when this was just a field and we used to sit right over there," said Ms. Toth, as she faced the river and pointed to the left of the Washington Street bridge that acts as Owens Corning's entrance.

The one-way drive in front of the Owens Corning building and the grassy field of Promenade Park to the north along Summit Street served as the front seat for thousands who turned out. Children straddled the fences lined up like turtles on logs. Skateboarders raced up and down, and parents and other couples clutched each other on blankets as music in the park accompanied the booming fireworks.

Mariko Heminger, who two years ago was living in Japan, and her two children, Mika, 1, and Nicholas, 4, waited for the fireworks to begin. She married a U.S. soldier, moved here, and works as a nurse's aide, she said.

"I've met nice people. It's not so different from Japan," she said. "I can live here and not so much feel alien. It's kind of friendly and welcoming."

She used to watch a fireworks display put on by the U.S. military each year in her home country, she said.

The otherwise trouble-free event was marred by an incident that occurred shortly after the fireworks concluded.

Authorities reported that at least one and possibly up to three apparent Draino bombs exploded in the area of COSI and the Wyndham Hotel.

A child was injured by one of the devices, but the injury did not appear to be serious, according to initial reports.

No other details were available last night.

Earlier in the day, people from across the region celebrated the holiday along the river where the free FamilyFest event began at 1 p.m.

Cat and Aaron Hart of Monroe spent the afternoon with their four daughters in Promenade Park where they listened to music and ate some of the vendor-provided food. "It's something we can do with the kids where nobody minds if they are screaming," said Mrs. Hart, while holding one of her 7-month-old twin daughters.

The family-oriented event spanned from Promenade Park to Festival Park and offered arts and crafts, musical acts, and amusement rides.

Blade staff writer Erica Blake contributed to this report.

Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick

at: ckirkpatrick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6077.



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