Historic Old West Festival - Toledo

10.) Historic Old West End Festival – Toledo – June 2, 2012

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As you may know, I love festivals where there is a plethora of something all in one location, whether it’s warblers, skunks, jumping frogs, food trucks, Dean Martin lookalikes or even Civil War re-enactors…

…but what about houses?

Toledo’s Old West End neighborhood consists of 25 city blocks with one of the highest amounts of (still standing) late Victorian and Edwardian homes in the United States.

But there’s more than just Victorians and Edwardians!

For the architecturally savvy, there are Georgians, Italian Renaissance homes, Queen Anns, Colonials and Dutch Colonials.

And, for everyone else…

…there’s just a lot of cool old enormous homes!

Old enormous homes that have gone through a lot in the last 100+ years.

The majority of the Old West End’s construction occurred from 1875 to 1915, when this area away from the city was the place to have a home. But as the 1920’s came along, the neighborhood lost its trendiness and people started building elsewhere.

As with any city neighborhood, neglect eventually set in and the Old West End fell into decline. But this became even more apparent by the 1960’s, when I-75’s construction destroyed entire blocks of the area.

Fortunately, through community efforts, part of the Old West End was registered as a historic district in 1973 with a larger area later registered in 1984.

And, as those efforts continued through the years, historic registry protected buildings from demolition, renovations protected crumbling homes from collapse…

…and festivals protected the neighborhood from further neglect.

The Historic Old West End Festival takes place over a large space of its neighborhood, taking great pride in its community…

…through the practice of house tours.

At a price of $4 per home (or $12 for all homes/discounted with canned goods)…

…festival goers could admire houses designated throughout the neighborhood…

…notice all the woodwork they had to clean…

…and understand why house owners didn’t smile in portraits.

This year, there were seven houses available for tours and they were spread about the area, reachable through some quick walking or a free shuttle that circuited the festival neighborhood grounds.

But there was more than just a collection of homes at the Historic Old West End Festival (I just love writing it all out).

Along Parkwood Avenue, in the heart of the festival…

…there was a street festival…

…where vendors sold dream catchers…

…jewelry…

…and plenty of Toledo-themed shirts via Reddish and Jupmode.

(the latter posed with you for a $5 discount)

And, along with the vendors, you could find…

…an info booth (with ticket sales)…

…face painting…

…a children’s activity tent…

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…a music stage (Hemline Theory)…

…and plenty of food vendors…

…including one with a rather interesting combo…

…and your traditional ice cream man.

Not too far from the street festival…

…rested an Art Fair…

…where artists sold glass sculptures…

…lawn figures…

…recycled robots (Botigans)…

…and even some offending pickle forks.

But, if the Art Fair didn’t get you in the creative spirit…


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…the nearby art cars would.

This car alone blew my mind…

…with doll heads, action figures, cars and dominoes…

…a skeletal music tribute…

…a hockey game…

…and the king, himself, along with his naked Barbie groupies.

Classy!

Beyond this centralized area, the festival made its way into the residential neighborhood where it took another form…

…via garage sales…

…gatherings and yard parties.

In fact, as we drove down the long streets, it was interesting to see all the people walking the sidewalks, shopping at yard sales or just celebrating.

Everyone was out, the neighborhood was alive…

…and I’ve never seen so many golf carts outside of a country club.

As we started to make our way out of the festival area, a park came into view that was filled with people and festive music.

As it turned out, this was part of the festival as well…

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…with plenty of ribs…

…beer…

…and some great music to check out before heading home (People Being Human).

 

 

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