Museum dinner celebrates the work of local farmers

On The Town: Toledo Zoo, local nonprofits raise money for community

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    Steve Smith, left, and Sharon Sauter, right, during The American Farm Museum and Education Center event in Blissfield, MI on August 5.

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  • The American Farm Museum and Education Center’s inaugural Farm-to-Table Dinner was held on the site of its future complex in Blissfield, Mich.

    Locally grown, farm-fresh cuisine and beverages were prepared by Jake Graf, Blissfield native and instructor for the Lenawee Intermediate School District culinary program. He was assisted by the Hathaway House staff.

    Copper Stills Band of Hanover, Mich., played tunes as guests enjoyed iced tea, lemonade, sangria, and local wines and craft beers and dined on appetizers of shredded chicken cones, caprese skewers, gazpacho shooters and crudites, artisan greens with grilled peaches, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, grilled flank steak, roasted pork loin, roasted vegetables, and carrot cake, chocolate brownies, marble cake with raspberries, and lemon curd tartlets.

    Melissa Growden, board secretary and event co-chairman, said the museum and center’s mission is to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of agriculture in the world, preserving its history by educating visitors on the past, present, and future of farming.

    The complex will be a place for farmers, students, teachers, and ag science industry workers on a local, regional, national, and global level. Co-chairman with Ms. Growden was Justin Gifford, executive director of Visit Lenawee.

    Design concepts by Friedrich St. Florian Architects were shown. The first phase of construction plans are to house the 13,000-piece Burkholder Farm Toy Collection and other artifacts.

    Among the 200 guests were Michigan State Rep. Bronna Kahle (R., District 57), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio), Ken and Mary Thompson, John and Bonnie Tuckerman, Art and Mary Weeber, Kris and Emory Schmidt, and Scott and Cindy Hill.

    The event is expected to raise an estimated $10,000. The more than 20 sponsors included Blissfield State Bank, Tecumseh Tent Rental, Green Plains Holdings, Green Stone Farm Credit Services, the Goetz Family Farm, Gust Brothers Farm, Walnut Mill Farm, Bar-K Farms, and other businesses and banks.

    ■ Buckeye Broadband’s Wild About Art inaugural art fair at the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium included 100-plus artists who sold their wares Saturday and Sunday. Those who paid $75 each attended the Preview Party on the eve of the art fair. They had a first peek at the art and first dibs on purchases of jewelry, glass, ceramics, paintings, photography, fibers, metalwork, and more.

    The night included hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar in the lodge with the Reedify Trio. Just outside the lodge, the Toledo Spirits Company tempted passers-by with locally distilled whiskey and an Orange Tiger liqueur cocktail. But most folks didn’t waste much time chit-chatting, eating, and drinking because there was so much to see and shopping to do.

    Zoo education animal ambassadors posed for pictures with guests. A white-cheeked gibbon in the Primate Forest created a work of art. Gathered Glass Blowing’s mobile lampworking studio created glass animal figurines that were sold that night. Meanwhile, Greg Justus was busy doing a painting as guests stopped to see his progress.

    Toledo Twisted Iron’s artists created a 4-foot sculpture of the zoo’s female baby giraffe, Kipenzi. Raffle tickets at $10 each were sold that night and throughout the weekend for a chance to win the sculpture. The winner of the masterpiece was Tom Zitzelberger.

    The $12,000 raised benefits the Toledo Zoo’s mission of conservation and education.

    Perusing during the evening soiree were Marv and Nancy Robon, who bought some hand-painted goblets. Also seen were Carroll and Dorothy Ashley, Charles and Brinnie Foulkes, Kim Collins and Bill Cosgrove, Sharon Simmons, Jim Moore and Dr. Tim Valko, Susan and Dr. Bill Horvath, Mary Dawson, Charles and Elizabeth Ference, Sue Hague-Rogers and Kristen Howard, Paula Baldoni and hubby Bill Jordan, Bob and Pat Maurer, Elaine and Brad Lewandowski, Sarah and Dave Fournier, Susan Conda, Candice Harrison, Brian and Anne Bennett, and Buckeye Broadband President and General Manager Jeff Abbas and his wife Rhona Alter.

    ■ Three local nonprofit charities recently joined forces to raise money for northwest Ohio communities. The Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association, BeInstrumental Foundation, and the Maumee Exchange Club held an End of Summer Beach Party at the Pinnacle in Maumee, which was part of the facilities Twylite Thursday events offered to nonprofit organizations. The fun included music donated by the Audiophiles, a 50/ 50 raffle, and a silent auction.

    BeInstrumental provides resources to artists, musicians, and organizations for musical education. The organization offers scholarships, grants, and tuition for music lessons and camps and provides students with musical instruments and mentorship.

    Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association provides “assistance without delay” — immediate emergency service when a school administrator, teacher, police officer, fire official, or neighbor reports a child in need.

    Maumee Exchange Club, a local chapter of the National Exchange Club, focuses on youth, community service, Americanism, and child abuse prevention.

    The evening raised $2,000, according to event chairmen Louise Kachmarik of Maumee Exchange Club; Carol McElfresh of BeInstrumental; and Pat Markland of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.

    Seen were John and Kelly Colley, Justin Stephens and Breann Dandar, Katie Stumbo, Megan Rhodes, Marv and Karen Trevor, and Tracey Edwards, CEO of the National Exchange Club and a member of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.

    Contact Barbara Hendel at or 419-724-6124.