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Toledo Cheese Days Offered Full Weekend of Activities

Youthful: Participants Jumped Frogs, Golfed, Watched a Parade and Showed Off Cars at Annual Festival

By Kyle Spurr / kspurr@chronline.com

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TOLEDO — Between the car and motorcycle show, bounce houses, a dunk tank and a market, all at Toledo Middle School on Saturday afternoon, the thousands of people at the annual Toledo Cheese Days festival had a wide variety of entertainment.

The four-day festival, from Thursday to Sunday, also had a golf tournament, frog jumping and the annual Cheese Days Parade, among other events.

From a small town gathering that celebrated the production of local cheese, the Toledo Cheese Days has evolved into a large-scale event that attracts 3,000 to 4,000 people from around the area.

Bruce Zillmer, of Centralia, sat back during the Cheese Days festivities on Saturday and noticed much of the activity had nothing to do with cheese, but rather civic pride in one of the state’s oldest festivals.

“I think every little town should do this,” Zillmer said. “Everyone is having fun.”

Zillmer brought his silver 1966 Austin Healey 3000 to the Car and Motorcycle Show. His car was one of more than 1,000 vehicles on the grass outside the Toledo High School on Saturday.

Cheese Days, organized each year by the Lions Club, VisionToledo, the city and other local volunteers, still honors its cheese heritage with free cheese sandwiches at the Presbyterian Church, a cheese pizza eating contest and a Cheddar Challenge fun run.

Zillmer said he was impressed with how many young families and children spent the day at the festival.

Many of the kids could be found on Saturday jumping in the two bounce houses or trying to drench a friend in the dunk tank.

Horst Malunat, the Toledo High School soccer coach, said the dunk tank was set up as a fundraiser for this team. He said it was a hit with the kids.

“The kids don’t want to throw, they want to get dunked in the water,” Malunat said.

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