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December 14, 2012

For the first time, Toledo mayor attends Gayla dinner

Toledo--Clocking in with four years more than Columbus Pride, what may be Ohio’s oldest annual LGBT event roared into the northwest on December 1, bringing huge crowds and thousands of dollars for worthy organizations.

For its 35th anniversary, the annual Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla dinner and dance had its third sell-out year in a row. It was also the first time a Toledo mayor accepted an invitation to appear.

“We were honored that Toledo Mayor Mike Bell attended the event and showed his support,” board member Rick Cornett said. “It was the first time a Toledo mayor has attended in our 35-year history, and we’ve invited many of them.”

The black-tie affair began with a cocktail reception, regaled with a performance by the Kelly Broadway Duo and comments from representatives of the three organizations who will benefit from attendees’ largesse, the AIDS Resource Center Ohio’s Toledo office, the Toledo Pride Festival and Parade, and the Spectrum Gay and Lesbian Endowment Fund of the University of Toledo. Some will also go to Holiday with Heart Fund at the Toledo Community Foundation. An estimated $13,000 was raised among the 300 attendees.

“Because we have outgrown the formal dining room, dinner was served downstairs on the main floor of the Toledo Club to accommodate more seating,” Cornett noted. “We sold out days prior to our reservation deadline.”

In addition to cocktails and dinner, partygoers were presented with a lavish dessert station after the meal, provided by volunteer Tim Schulien. The evening also saw the presentation of the Founder’s Award to Michael Miller, editor-in-chief of the Toledo Free Press. The newspaper has sponsored Holiday with Heart for three years, providing editorial coverage before the event, as well as free advertising, and is also a sponsor of Toledo Pride.

In addition to the Kelly Broadway Duo, the evening’s entertainment was provided by Cityboyz Menswear owner Steve Brown, who provided three models to sell raffle tickets; MaKayla Sinclaire Styles, DJ Martha Rappoport and a condensed performance of The Nutcracker by Toledo Ballet dancers.

Guests could also get keepsakes of the evening at Grand Lubelle Photography’s Photobooth Live or from Tom Brooks Photography.

Next year’s event will be on Saturday, December 7, again at the Toledo Club. More information is available at or on their Facebook page.




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