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Published: Wednesday, 7/12/2006

Crowds bask in glow of pregame festivities

• View Thunder Over Toledo. Thunder Over Toledo

But the Wehdes, even with no umbrellas, had no intentions of leaving.

"It's only water," she said. "We might get a little soggy, but we won't melt."

Those attending the All-Star Bash enjoyed the cover of Fifth Third Field's grandstands as well as the beef tenderloin and gazpacho, among other food choices at various stations.

"You can plan everything, but you can't control the weather, so we adjusted," said Jim Murray, general chairman of the Farr event, presented by Kroger.

Some women wore sun dresses, men were clad in golf shirts and khaki pants, and others wore Mud Hens gear.

Mike Farrell, left, who played Capt. B.J. Hunnicut on 'M*A*S*H,' autographs a ball while Jamie Farr greets guests during the All-Star Bash at Fifth Third Field. Mike Farrell, left, who played Capt. B.J. Hunnicut on 'M*A*S*H,' autographs a ball while Jamie Farr greets guests during the All-Star Bash at Fifth Third Field.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

A red carpet was laid over the floor and other red, white, and blue decorations adorned the stadium.

Headlining entertainment at the event was The World Classic Rockers, a band made up of former members of Santana, Journey, Toto, Steppenwolf, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"I think it's great to see the community get together to participate in two great events," Bob LaClair, president of Fifth Third Bank, said of the Farr and the Triple-A all-star events.

Celebrities attending the bash included actors Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, and Shelly Fabares, USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, and Chuck Ealey, a former football star at the University of Toledo.

Last night's festivities concluded with a fireworks show that would be the first ever launched from the Anthony Wayne Bridge over the Maumee River.

The Thunder Over Toledo Firework Spectacular was to include nearly 5,000 shells from four flatbed trailers parked on the bridge about 110 feet above the river. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic earlier in the day.

The show, which was the idea of the Mud Hens front office, required two years of planning because of its size and location, said Scott Jeffer, the team's assistant general manager. The team launches smaller fireworks shows at Fifth Third Field about 30 times a year.

The Hens paid for most of the expense of last night's display, although cost figures were not available, Mr. Jeffer said.

The show's contractor, Pyrotechnico, of New Castle, Pa., conducted a small test run of the show last fall for city officials by shooting fireworks from the deck of the four-lane steel suspension bridge, which opened in 1931.

Staff writers Barbara Hendel and JC Reindl contributed to this report.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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