Bell honored guest at sister city spring festivalWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
DELMENHORST, GERMANY — Toledo Mayor Mike Bell rode bumper cars, gave away a stuffed animal to a thrilled little girl, sampled some local food and visited some beer gardens during the opening day of Toledo sister city Delmenhorst’s Kramermarkt.
The annual spring festival, which runs April 13-17, features a parade, rides, concourse of food vendors and more.
“They do a festival in the spring to sort of welcome the weekly equivalent of the city market [farmers market]. Then they do one in the fall to celebrate the end of the growing season,” said Toledo Sister Cities International Executive Director Susan Miko, who attended the fair.
Around 2 p.m. April 13, a group of Delmenhorst city employees and other local dignitaries gathered at the city hall, where Delmenhorst Mayor Patrick de La Lanne made some remarks about the visitors from Toledo and the two cities’ relationship.
After the remarks, all the members of the delegation signed a book commemorating the sister city relationship. Toledo and Delmenhorst have been sister cities for 10 years.
De La Lanne said Toledo’s “welcome, friendship and hospitality” left a good impression on him when he visited the city last summer. While there, he invited Bell to return the visit in Delmenhorst.
The group then walked to the festival grandstand nearby, where Bell was the honored guest at the official opening ceremony along with the rest of the Toledo delegation.
De La Lanne introduced Bell and declared the festival officially open. The group then watched the festival’s opening parade.
After being invited to choose a stuffed animal prize from one of the festival booths, Bell gave the toy away to a child standing nearby.
“He handed it to a girl standing in front who was looking on in amazement. It just lit her face up,” said Paul Syring, deputy mayor of external affairs and economic development.
The day was a little more relaxed than the previous two days of business meetings at the Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest industrial trade fairs.
“I made a whole lot of friends,” Bell said. “People here are really friendly.”
Miko said she is thrilled with the connection between the two cities.
“The thing with Toledo Sister Cities I don’t think people realize is we are committed to culture, educational and economic development,” Miko said. “I think that’s a piece that surprises people. We call ourselves the softer side of economic development. We can speak to what a wonderful place Toledo is to live and raise a family and all the good things like that. That’s kind of what we do.”
That night, Bell, de La Lanne, the Toledo delegation and several other guests met for dinner at a Delmenhorst hotel.
Also on the trip from Toledo are City Finance Director Patrick McLean, Public Information Officer Jen Sorgenfrei, Regional Growth Partnership Vice President International Development D. Paul Zito, University of Toledo Associate Director Undergraduate Admission Mark Schroeder and private individual Christine Luttmann.