There are a lot of reasons to love life in the 419, and what better way to celebrate the people and places that make it great than with our own holiday.
Today is our day — April 19 — 4/19. It’s a day to visit local eateries, shops, and art galleries. A day to absorb just how lucky we are to call this corner of this magnificent state home.
Today, The Blade invites everyone living in the 419 area code to set aside worries about the economy, terrorist bombings, the crime of the day, and find something you love about where you live. It’s just a day, but make it a good one.
Detroit has its own day to celebrate — the 313 on March 13 each year — so why shouldn’t Toledo and people across northwest Ohio have their day?
“I think we are one of those hidden jewels out there as far as cities go,” said Keith Burwell, president of the Toledo Community Foundation. “People have talked about how we end up on the [Forbes] index about being miserable. Well, what’s so miserable about having one of the best metropark systems in the country? What’s so miserable about having one of the best symphonies in the country? What’s so miserable about having one of the best museums in the country? Or a great baseball team that everybody all over the world wants to buy their merchandise? That’s a lot of misery to live with.”
One of the region’s greatest resources is its residents, said Josh Thurston, 32, of Toledo.
Mr. Thurston and his wife, Becky Boone (who turns 33 today), live in the Old West End and are looking to buy a house there. Not just because the properties are incredible — though that doesn’t hurt — but the neighbors are “super friendly,” Mr. Thurston said.
“The people are really good here,” he said. “Everyone is hardworking. ... Everyone means well.”
Jemma Hostetler, 40, of Toledo, isn’t shy about her admiration for the city she has called home for nearly 10 years. Mrs. Hostetler moved to Toledo in 2004 after her now-husband, Dustin Hostetler, 35, proposed.
Hoping to share her Toledo adventures, Mrs. Hostetler created an online photo album and called it “Toledo is the new Paris.” In 2008, Mr. Hostetler took his wife to Lickity Split, an ice cream shop on Glendale Avenue in South Toledo near Wixey Bakery, which is a sweet-treat stop that Mr. Hostetler visited often as a child.
“I decided, ‘I’m going to blog about it,’ and I just kept going,” Mrs. Hostetler, a graphic designer, said of her blog, enjoyingtoledo.com.
Arts in our community are huge. There are galleries everywhere and, of course, the Toledo Museum of Art. Artomatic 419! continues Saturday.
It’s digital too.
Ben Morales, 32, of Toledo is an Instagramming force. Last year, the graphic designer started a photo series on the social networking platform called “rephotographing Toledo.” Using photo archives from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Mr. Morales, with the help of his iPhone, takes a picture of the original photo in front of the building as it exists today.
When he uploads a photo, it’s not unusual for it to get hundreds of “likes.”
Part of what’s so great about life in the 419 is the continued revitalization of downtown Toledo and the up-and-coming UpTown neighborhood.
For 419 Day, the UpTown Association is hosting a bicycle ride scavenger hunt and bar crawl. More information is available at UpTownToledo.org.
“To me, this is just another piece of the pie of a growing, burgeoning flavor of Toledo that people are willing to come out and traverse around a part of town that, 10 years ago, they simply wouldn’t have,” said Ryan Bunch, 30, with the UpTown Association.
Even occasional naysayers find reasons to love the 419.
“It does take a little bit of effort to set up the lifestyle you want; it’s not always at your fingertips,” said Nate Rethorn, 27, of Perrysburg.
Even still, if Mr. Rethorn and his wife had a whole day to do things all unique to the area, they wouldn’t have a hard time packing their schedule: trivia at Swig, maybe grab a beer at Maumee Bay Brew Pub, lunch at Koreana, a walk through one of the Metroparks, catch a Mud Hens game.
Part of what makes celebrating 419 Day so great is that there is no shortage of amenities to be proud of.
It's too bad we only have one day.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.