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Old West End Festival is rich with history

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    Musical groups keep the beat in the parade. The Old West End festival in Toledo, Ohio on June 3, 2017.

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    A well-dressed Mini Cooper, one of several cars owned by Northwest Ohio Mini Owners in the parade.

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    Creativity on display in the Old West End parade as John Eikhost pedals a custom made dragon bike.

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    The Old West End festival in Toledo, Ohio on June 3, 2017.

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    Nico Clarkson, 3, of Sylvania, chasing bubbles made by a friend of hers. The Old West End festival in Toledo, Ohio on June 3, 2017.

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One of the largest neighborhoods of Victorian, Edwardian, and arts and crafts homes in the United States will host its annual Old West End Festival this weekend.

“It’s a really great thing for Toledo,” said Josh Thurston, public relations chair of the festival, who added that tens of thousands of people visit the festival every year.

The 47th annual Old West End Historic Festival returns to the city’s oldest neighborhood Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Live music gets things rolling at 7 p.m. Friday at Robinwood and Delaware avenues with Toledo band Violent Bloom, followed by the Zimmerman Twins, and Oliver Hazard.

If You Go:

What: 47th Old West End Historic Festival

When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Where: Old West End neighborhood

Admission: House Tour tickets: $15 per person, $25 per couple, $10 per person in advance, $5 single house tour; children under 12 are free.

Information: toledooldwestend.com/

Yet the official kickoff to the festival happens at 10 a.m. Saturday with the 109th anniversary of the King Wamba Parade, which will include art cars, floats, performance art, and musical presentations. The parade will start on Robinwood Avenue, weave through Bancroft Street, and finish along Collingwood Boulevard.

Dave and Toni Moore are this year’s king and queen. The colorful parade and its royalty pay homage to the Toledo Mardi Gras festival of 1909.

Toni said she’s been a part of the Old West End Festival since 1970 when she moved into the neighborhood. She and her husband, Dave, have lived in five residences over the years. She has also been a part of the Women of the Old West End, a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve, educate, and inform others about the neighborhood.

“We love the neighborhood and we will always love being a part of this neighborhood,” she said. “What we do in this neighborhood is for the betterment of this neighborhood.”

Yet her favorite thing about the Old West End neighborhood remains the people.

“The Old West End has always been a huge part of what we do,” she said. “This neighborhood is a gift.”

A major aspect to the annual festival are the house tours.

This year’s tours will feature five homes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The homes, built between 1897 and 1917, include the W.W. Morrison Keppi-Kosmyna Home, 2044 Collingwood Blvd.; the Jacob Gerold Jennifer and Dana Richmond Home, 2725 Collingwood Blvd.; the David L. Stine Home, 2333 Scotwood Ave.; the Harold Arms David and Jennifer Hanson Home, 2371 Scotwood Ave.; and The Woolson-Brand Coachman’s House, 630 Floyd St.

Also a resident of the Old West End neighborhood, Thurston said the weekend is a great way to showcase this specific area of Toledo.

“People can be stuck in this Rust Belt mentality about Toledo, and if they come down here they’re going to see a beautiful neighborhood and super friendly people who want to hang out and have a good time,” Thurston said.

An art fair will be hosted on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday as well as a marketplace along Woodruff Avenue between Scottwood Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard at the same time.

Live music continues Saturday and Sunday all day and guests will see yard sales throughout the neighborhood.

A 5K take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, beginning in front of the professional building at 1838 Parkwood Ave.

“Toledo has a really good festival season,” Thurston said. “It’s almost like there’s something every weekend to do in the summer. [The Old West End Festival] is the kickoff to the summer. You know that summer is here when the festival is happening.”

For more information, visit toledooldwestend.com.

Contact Geoff Burns at gburns@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.

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