Saturday, Oct 20, 2018
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Festive fiber frogs to reign downtown

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Amphibian visions are dancing in the heads of corporate honchos these days, persuading them to open their wallets and foster a fabulous fiberglass frog.

“It's Reigning Frogs,” Toledo's upcoming summertime festival of frog sculpture, is gathering momentum, said coordinator and “frog princess” Lissa Guyton at a meeting at the mayor's office yesterday.

Area artists sent in more than 700 design ideas, and a social event planned for Thursday will bring artists and corporate sponsors together to settle on design details.

“This is a wonderful idea for corporations,” Ms. Guyton said. “It's four months of great P.R. on the street, and even more on the night of the final frog auction.”

More than 6,000 businesses, industries, schools, and institutions have been contacted, Ms. Guyton said. They can sponsor a four-foot frog statue at donation levels from $1,800 to $10,000, and choose its d cor or character from the 700 designs in the “frogfolio” or create a design of their own.

One big construction company chose a hardhat frog design, with a helmet painted in its corporate colors, the director said. Frogs aren't allowed to overtly advertise, but some lend themselves naturally to the job: There's a Pink Panther frog, a stars-and-stripes Uncle Sam frog, and a glass frog already on the drawing board.

The first crop of creatures will debut June 8 at the Rally by the River; about 10 new frogs will be introduced each week throughout the summer until all 218 are on the street. The statues will be placed on city blocks bordered by the Maumee River, Jackson, Jefferson, and Michigan, in International Park, and with a few scattered in outlying areas.

After spending a summer bolted to concrete pads downtown, the frogs will be auctioned, and the proceeds donated to local charities.

Arturo Quintero, the mayor's executive officer, said the city's public utilities department has pitched in for several frogs, which will be converted to permanent drinking fountains for city parks.

Other design proposals unveiled included a puzzle frog, a devil frog, a psychedelic frog - even one made of fruits and vegetables.

There's just not enough fun in this town these days, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner told the gathering, and hundreds of fiberglass frogs are what Toledo needs to raise its party-animal quota.

“I have a whole new perspective on frogs,” he said. “I got it from watching beer ads on television.

“With those big ol' bulging eyes, talking to each other from their deep throats, it's hard to imagine anything more fun than this program.”

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