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Published: Saturday, 7/8/2006

As visitors near, mayor asks to see Toledo at its best

Finkbeiner Finkbeiner
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Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is calling on Toledoans to cut their lawn and not to litter.

And they're to be nice to others and "greet" everyone too, said the sometimes cantankerous mayor, who was all all smiles yesterday about Toledo's international exposure and local events over the next few weeks.

Downtown is expected to see 90,000 to 100,000 visitors next week, the mayor's office said, with the Jamie Farr Classic, which will be broadcast on ESPN in 100 countries; the Triple-A All-Star game Wednesday at Fifth Third Field, which will be broadcast on ESPN2; the Lagrange Street Polish Festival; a fireworks display Tuesday from the Anthony Wayne Bridge, and the African-American

Festival, featuring a live broadcast of the Tom Joyner show the following week.

"Let's do this right, ladies and gentleman," Mayor Finkbeiner said, "because this will be a historic 14-to-17-day period in our city."

The golf and baseball will be televised around the globe.

Tom Joyner's Sky Show has 1 million listeners.

That's a lot of eyes and ears on Toledo.

"Even though the significant portion of it does have to do with baseball and golf, there's a lot more than baseball and golf going on in our city," the mayor said.

"For the next roughly two-and half weeks, we have a ton of stuff going on in our city," he exclaimed. I want to encourage Toledoans ... to do what the rest of us have been doing, that is, in the government and in the private sector. ... Spruce up your property. We're sprucing up our property. We would encourage Toledoans to cut their lawns and do whatever touch-up jobs need to be done."

The mayor took his opportunity to beam about Toledo as an international sports town and flanked himself at a news conference he called with executives and sponsors connected to the golf and baseball and activities.

"It's practically nonstop activity in terms of baseball and golf for the next week," he said.

Then there is the African American Festival that starts July 14, and a live broadcast of the Tom Joyner Sky Show from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., particularly popular among the black community, from the parking lot of the Stranahan Theater.

Thirty people will be able to perform live, and the winner receives $1,000.

The contest is called Tom's Big Break, and people in other markets have lined up days in advance.

Joe Napoli, general manager-vice president of the Toledo Mud Hens, said local officials took cues from Detroit, which hosted the Major League All-Star week last year and the NFL's Super Bowl earlier this year.

"We've expanded the Minor League, Triple-A baseball week to a level that can be compared to top major league events. We made sure we visited Detroit last year ... and we had the good fortune of the Super Bowl being just up the road. We sent out a team of people to basically create a week of activity to be comparable," Mr. Napoli said.

Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick

at: ckirkpatrick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6077.

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