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| by John Szozda
You only have yourself to blame if you’re bored this summer and beyond.
We have town festivals in Luckey, Oregon, Oak Harbor, Pemberville, Stony Ridge, Walbridge and Woodville.
We have wacky festivals, all of them in Elmore, the town with a sense of humor. There’s Grub ‘N Suds, a biker gathering featuring a Headless Motorcyclist Poker Run; the Tombstone Derby, featuring casket races and the New Year’s Eve sausage drop, billed as the “wurst” event of the year.
We have heritage festivals like the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Fest, The Drums Along the Maumee, and our newest festival at Oregon’s Vail Meadows which will include re-enactors Johnny Appleseed, General George Armstrong Custer and Mounted Police units from across the Midwest.
We have ethnic festivals like East Toledo’s Birmingham Fest, which celebrates Hungarian heritage, and Oregon’s German American Fest. And, now, there’s a new ethnic fest. It’s called Celebrity Bash at the Bay and it’s billed as Ohio’s Only Black Beach Week.
The event’s organizer, Hutch Daddy Dolla, a deejay for WJZE-97.3 and music promoter, says the event is more than a celebration of African-American culture. “It’s not just a black thing or a white thing. It’s a urban culture thing. A lot of whites and Hispanics live in urban areas as well. It’s geared for those who like rhythm and blues and rap.”
The event, which will be held July 21 to 27, features comedy and fashion shows, a car and bike show that would make the Pimp My Ride guys proud and a day of fun and music in the sun.
The headliner is nationally known r & b artist Cheri Dennis. Her single, I Love You, peaked at 38 on Billboard’s R & B Chart. She has appeared with P Diddy & The Bad Boy Family and Notorious B.I.G.
Other acts include Deelishus from VH 1’s reality show Flavor of Love, Ryan Leslie, Jimmy Cozier, Hot Dollar and DJ Ace Khaled. The music ranges from r& b to hip-hop and rap.
Most of the events are expected to be held at Toledo sites yet to be named, but the day at the beach and the free concert are to be held Sunday, July 27 at Maumee Bay State Park. Well, maybe. Hutch Daddy still has a little work to do, according to Jim Brower, park manager.
Despite passing out flyers and setting up a website to promote Bash at the Bay, Hutch Daddy has not applied for a permit. “He’s not talked to me at all. He’s got a real problem. I’m upset with the guy. As far as I’m concerned there is no event,” he said.
The lack of a permit is only one of Brower’s concerns. Last year, at the first Bash at the Bay, Brower had to call out police units from Oregon, Toledo and the Ohio State Highway Patrol to control fighting that broke out at the end of the event. So, Hutch Daddy has to provide more security this year to supplement the small ranger staff. If Hutch does that, the fest goes on.
Other than the fighting, the event was well run, Brower said. “It was a good start. It was a good event. We didn’t have any problem until the last 20 minutes and a bunch of people got into fights.”
We’re supportive of what he wants to do, but he needs to provide more security, Brower said.
Black Beach Week is not just a local event. There are similar events held across the country and as far south as Brazil. Hutch Daddy has attended some of these events. His fondness for beaches comes naturally as he is a native of Daytona Beach and has worked in Tallahassee. When he moved here to work at WJZE, he was drawn to the beaches at Maumee Bay State Park. He wants to share his joy of the sand and water with a segment of the population that typically doesn’t frequent the park—urban families. He calls his event a big picnic or family reunion. Last year, about 1,000 people attended. This year he expects between 3,500 and 5,000.
Hutch Daddy wants you to know this is not a Black Only Beach event. He wants you to come for the music and the sun and the fun, just like you’d attend the Polish American Festival for the polka or the South of the Border Festival in Perrysburg for Tejano music.