Old West End prepping for annual festivalWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
June is coming, which means it’s time for summer and the 43rd Annual Historic Old West End (OWE) Festival, set for June 7 and 8.
“The people that live in the neighborhood and the people who enjoy the Old West End Festival see it as a kick off to summer. You get a week or so after Memorial Day and here it is,” said Josh Thurston, OWE Festival Committee member and OWE resident.
This year’s festival — one of the city’s iconic summer events — is expected to be just as grand as years’ past.
“We have stuff for the whole family. … [We have] five Historic homes and mansion tours, an art fair on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion, wonderful food, beer garden and lots of entertainment, garage and yard sales and children’s activities available throughout the weekend,” Thurston said.
People eager to partake in the festivities can visit the beer and entertainment garden from 6-11 p.m. June 6 at the Agnes Reynolds Jackson Arboretum at the corner of Delaware and Robinwood avenues.
The official kickoff to the festival is the King Wamba Carnival Parade at 10 a.m. June 7.
The tradition of the King Wamba parade started 105 years ago so local dignitaries could welcome guests from sister city Toledo, Spain, Thurston said. It was dropped at some point and then picked up again in the late 2000s, he said.
The parade’s grand marshals will be the firefighters of Toledo Fire and Rescue Station No. 17.
“Every year we try to highlight someone within the community that we feel embodies the neighborhood and our festival and this year we really wanted to recognize our firefighters,” Thurston said. “This year was very important to recognize the work that they do in our neighborhood.”
People from around the Midwest came to Toledo to create the art cars and floats for the King Wamba parade, which will be made up of about 100 participants and musical groups, including the Scott High School’s marching band, Thurston said.
A coronation ceremony in front of the Historic Mansion View Inn on Collingwood Boulevard will crown this year’s Wamba King and Queen Sancha, Dave and Lynne LaPlante, longtime OWE residents and community volunteers.
The “jewel in the crown” of the Old West End Festival is the house tours available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 7-8. Thurston said people are lined down the block to get into the tour, which is by far the most popular of the many events.
“Each year the festival’s ‘House Tours Chairperson’ selects a grouping of homes to open to the public,” according to the festival’s website. “Homeowners graciously throw open their doors for Saturday and Sunday to share the unique architecture and history that make up our Historic District.”
The five homes that will be on the tour this year are: the George Allen-Deb and Todd Kienzle home, 2238 Scottwood Ave., built in 1892; the Edward and Florence Scott Libbey home, 2008 Scottwood Ave., built in 1895; the Helen Doyle Pratt-Joyce Lockford home, 2515 Glenwood Ave., built in 1907; the George Williams-Jane and Dave Petitjean home, 2532 Glenwood Ave., built in 1914; and the Reynolds Secor home-Mansion View Inn, 2035 Collingwood Blvd, built in 1887.
Tickets to the house tour are $15 per person or $25 per couple. If purchased in advance, the cost is $10 per person and $5 for a single house tour. Children 12 years old and younger get in free. To purchase a ticket for $10 at the door, bring five canned good items to donate at the information booths. The canned goods will benefit St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Located near the Toledo of Museum of Art Glass Pavilion will be the art fair, happening 11 a.m to 5 p.m. June 7-8.
Forty-five artists from Toledo as well as six surrounding states will have their wares on display and for sale, organizers said. Some artists are coming from as far away as Florida and Pennsylvania.
The artists needed to meet a certain criteria to be selected by a jury in order to participate in the fair, said Art Fair Chair Tara Hubbard.
“It’s a juried process,” said Hubbard, who is also a fine artist. “The artist needs to apply and then send in images of their work and it’s sent before a jury.”
Hubbard moved the art fair to the Toledo Museum of Art five years ago.
“It brings everything together and gives it a more beautiful setting,” she said, “Artists love it as well because it’s on the grass and under the trees which gives it a nice artsy feel and it’s more professional.”
Festival goers who work up an appetite walking or shopping can chow down on fair-style food, including BBQ, gyros, pizza, funnel cakes, smoothies, fries, ice cream, hot dogs and more. The food vendors will be parked at the art fair and the arboretum from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For those who want a cold brew, a beer garden will be held at the Arboretum along with entertainment. The beer garden is open noon to 10 p.m. June 7 and noon to 5 p.m. June 8. Maumee Bay Brewing Company will provide the beer.
Three entertainment stages will be set up around the festival at the arboretum with musical acts beginning at 7 p.m. June 6, the Art Fair Stage at Parkwood Avenue at Woodruff Avenue and the Commons Park Stage on Bancroft Street at Robinwood Avenue.
Musical acts are local and from outside the city, including Ann Arbor and Detroit. Styles range from psychedelic garage rock to acoustic rock to jazz. For a complete listing of acts, times and stages, go to www.toledooldwestend.com/owe-festival.
On June 7, an antique car show will happen under the shaded trees of Toledo Spain Park in front of the Park Lane Luxury Apartments, 142 23rd St. Scott High School, 2400 Collingwood Blvd., will host a Community Bash event on its front lawn from 11a.m. to 4:30 p.m. June 7.
On June 8, the Old West End 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the Old West End Festival, will take participants through the neighborhood as musicians play along the route. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. and the event starts at 9 a.m. on Jefferson Street near Monroe Street.
Organizing all the OWE festival events, activities and entertainments requires dozens of volunteers and so many hours of preparation that Thurston was reluctant to put a number on it.
“There’s so many people who have been involved in the festival. Everyone’s got their own thing they are in charge of,” Thurston said. “We have dozens of committees. We started having monthly meetings in the winter and they go up to a week before when it’s all hands on deck. It just all falls into place but it’s a lot (of work).
“It’s a lot of work but it seems like it all comes together because we have a real core of 20 to 30 people who put a lot of time into their area of the festival,” he said. “When you get that many people who are passionate about the festival and the people, it’s an easy thing to do when you have this many committed volunteers.”
Thurston said he enjoys his involvement as spokesperson and parade volunteer in an event that sparks appreciation for his neighborhood.
“For me, the festival is an opportunity to showcase where we live. There are people in Toledo who say the Old West End is dangerous, but you come down for a festival. It’s just an entire community that comes together and has a good time,” he said. “Everyone’s neighbors, especially for that weekend. It’s just a real sense of neighborhood pride that lasts the whole year.
“Come down, see our Victorian homes, walk around, have a beer, have some food and enjoy what we get to see every day,” Thurston said. “We want as many people to see what we see — just a great place to live.”
All the money raised by the OWE Festival goes to the OWE Association and will be used for neighborhood improvements among other neighborhood projects, Thurston said.
For more information, visit www.toledooldwestend.com/owe-festival.
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