Part of the fun of the local Oscar Night bash is that it's all-ages: Millennials and gen Xers rub elbows with boomers and seniors. A bumper crowd of 550 filled the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at Owens Community College last Sunday night for the ninth annual Oscar fund-raiser for the local American Red Cross.
Entering on the red carpet means bright lights, cameras, TV news anchors (Chrys Peterson and Jerry Anderson of WTOL-TV, Channel 11), and on the over-arching stairway, screaming "fans" (OCC students recruited to incite excitement). Shy folk sandwiched themselves between others, while the gregarious hammed it up. Especially live wires were Blade reporter Taylor Dungjen with friends and Star 105.5 morning hosts Tim Timmerman and Jeff Januszek, the latter eating caviar out of can with a plastic fork.
It's a swell event for people-watching and lots of fabulous threads, including a white prom dress the wearer was tickled to fit into and jewel-toned African-inspired ensembles (one gracing volunteer Rose Cannon Rankins).
Statuesque Robin Reeves, escorted by James Jacobs, poured herself into a long gold shimmer. Missy Hayward's strapless, pale-mint gown swirled with satin applique. Neeti Wells, with husband Joe Wells, draped herself in a stunning white salwar kameez she purchased in New Delhi. Hers, a fancy tunic over pants, was sleeveless; its neckline embellished with silver beads and mirrors.
Generosity flowed and the hardest-working donors were staff from 20 restaurants and sweet shops, many with owners on hand, to serve small plates of their best (crab cakes, lobster bisque, Guinness chicken, chocolate turtles, Lebanese rice pudding, mint yogurt topped with plump blueberries, and a stew of peppadew peppers with sausage, seafood, and risotto).
In a cozy cabaret room, Hep Cat Revival played swingy tunes. Draped with netting and Chinese lanterns, the room bustled as guests sampled exquisite desserts. Just inside was Jan Pugh in a teal cocktail dress, the top edge trimmed in satin roses, and in her hair, a feathery fascinator. Sharing her small table were spouse John James and their new friend Norris Finley.
Seen were dapper brothers Jeremiah and Joshua Peterson, Sonal and Vipul Shah, Brian Epstein, and M.J. Choi and Danny Kim. Legions were affiliated with the Red Cross including Ginger and Greg Knudson, Roberta and Gary Schaber, Denise and Terry Benton, Renee and Jason Copsey, Karen Jones, Lillian Fears, Mandy and Charles Zajac, and Tim Yenrick.
The party generally brings in $75,000 to $80,000 in support of the part of the Red Cross that assists with disasters and the military.
Red Cross benefit
Fire& Ice: Rock 'n' Roll for the Red Cross presented by Rudolph Libbe was Feb. 17 at the Clazel Theater in Bowling Green. The third annual celebration of the first responders of the American Red Cross of Wood County reaped an estimated $27,000 and donations are still coming in, which put smiles on the faces of event chairmen Ginny Stewart and Pam Fahle and board chairman Greg Knudson. Disaster volunteers were honored for their help in 2011 with Hurricane Irene and tornadoes in Alabama and Joplin, Mo.
Among the volunteers recognized during the presentation were Don Koch, Rose Koch, Susan Gavron, and Bob Custer.
The popular fund-raisers during the event included the Wood County firefighters celebrity bar tenders contest, the wine bottle raffle, and other raffles.
Among the 275 partygoers were Shelly and Tom Konz, Gordon Wening and Cathy Newlove Wening, Mary Lou and Phil Rudolph, Jr., Paul Dobson and Kristin Otley, Jack and Cyndi Sculfort, Larry and Nancy Hutson, and Paul and Doris Herringshaw.
The Toledo Symphony Dinner Music: Encore! presented by PNC Bank was Feb. 25 at the Toledo Club was unique. Eight rooms were filled with music selected by the musicians and a menu to match by the chef. A tuba here, a violin or flute there, music filled the club.
The Board Room featured an improv performance with cellos where the music was created by a story built by the guests. Chef Michael created a menu on the spot by collecting favorite food items of the guests, including table captain Mike Thaman.
The Garden Room featured Alice Gomez' Mandarin Whispers with an Asian menu. Mary Larkin and Laila Waggoner had an impromptu marimba lesson from symphony principal percussionist Gabe Sobieski. And the symphony's Kathy Carroll and her husband Carl White dined in this room.
Similar themed rooms were featured throughout the club and among other table captains were Randy and Barb Oostra, Doug and Sue Neckers, Steven and Virginia Keller, Jonathan Orser, Beth Bowman, Frank Jacobs, Kathryn Fell, Barbara Baker, Ron Rybarczyk, Mary Caprella, Zak Vassar, Brian Bucher, Symphony Board Chairman Dick Anderson, Karen and Bob Lucas, and Toledo Club president and Blade president-general manager Joseph H. Zerbey IV.
There was plenty of fun, but no auctions or raffles, just dinner and music with participation. The second-time event is expected to net more than $30,000.
Also among the nearly 300 attendees were Virginia Clifford and Norm Nitschke, Rita Kern, Brent and Pam Cousino, Joe and Annette Napoli, George and Leslie Chapman, Joe and Faye Fenwick, Doug and Kim Kearns, Richard and Elizabeth Ruppert, Keith Burwell, Edward Johnson and Andrea Price, Tibble Foster, Allan and Clair Kirsner, Mary Pat Anderson, Kirk and Julie Mizerek, and Don and Sue Speck.