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Enjoying Toledo’s Old West End Festival

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I spent last Saturday and Sunday in a happy fog of house parties, porch sitting, chatting with old and new friends, garage sales, home tours, an art fair, a parade, and yummy food vendors – otherwise known as the annual Old West End festival.

For all you non-Toledoans, this neighborhood is a spectular display of architecture – left over from when it was home to numerous Captains of Industry in Toledo’s more prosperous years. Neighborhood boosters will tell you it is the largest neighborhood of restored late Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts & Crafts homes in the United States, or at least east of the Mississippi.

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Some photos from the crazy characters in the parade:

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Who is that cute girl holding the Toledo Choose Local sign?

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You can be sure ice cream was involved:

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You can find a little bit of history about the annual festival and King Wamba parade here, on the Old West End Association’s web site. The short version: in 1909, when Toledo was more of a booming, manufacturing metropolis, full of titans of industry, local civic boosters decided they wanted to create a sort of “Mardi Gras of the North” here.

I only had time for one house tour, the unbelievably massive Willys-Tillinghast House, built in 1901 for Alvin B. Tillinghast, a licorice magnate. (Who knew it was such a lucrative business?) The home was later owned by “one of Toledo’s great automotive industrialists, John North Willys, who founded Willys-Overland,” the company which later became that iconic Toledo auto, the Jeep.

These pictures do not capture how awesome this house is, but I wanted to show the amazing and beautiful details:

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You can read the Toledo Blade’s coverageĀ  here.

What an amazing weekend. I can’t wait until next year!

-KG

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