There will be no shortage of dairy products at the annual Toledo Cheese Days festival. But the four-day centerpiece of the summer calendar in Toledo beginning on July 11 brie-ngs more than just the pinnacle of comfort foods to the southern portion of Lewis County.
The 18th Annual Car and Motorcycle Show at Toledo Middle School starts at 7 a.m. on July 13 and runs through the afternoon. For a $20 fee, hundreds of people from across the Pacific Northwest drive in to compete for the more than 100 trophies given out by the Toledo Lions Club.
Many of those awards are handed out by the more than 150 businesses that sponsor the show along with the Lions Club. There used to be a formal car club in Toledo, according to show organizer Brad Dykstra. There’s still a core group of gear heads who get together now and then, but the annual Cheese Days show is the pinnacle of the season.
Aside from the cars, there will be a live auction and raffle for prizes ranging from car care products to furniture and tools. Raffle tickets cost $1 each and can be purchased at the car show.
“It’s a great meeting spot for everyone, especially after the parade is done,” Dykstra said. “At a lot of small town events, people usually go to the parades and then dissipate. Here, it’s a great way for them to spend the middle part of their day. There’s food vendors, activities for the kids and all kinds of car-related stuff. People come from the east side of the state and from up near Canada to attend this show.”
Another popular attraction during Cheese Days is the annual “Toledo Made” artists exhibition at Art Gallery 505. Anyone who lives in or has a connection to Toledo is eligible to enter their wares, which can range from traditional painting or ceramics to what gallery owner Di Morgan categorizes as “the funkier stuff.” Those include fabric-based crafts to woodwork and even hand-tied fishing flies.
The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the festival and will feature the local creations through the first weekend in August. A reception to mark the opening of the “Toledo Made” collection drew nearly 50 patrons, Morgan said.
“Our goal is to showcase the people of Toledo,” Morgan said. “Everyone from the guy who makes the fish flies, the lavender people, and all of the art people. This is your group of people who live here in your community coming together to showcase the talent right here in the community.”
Cheese Days as a whole will kick off with a casual reception featuring live music and food at 6 p.m. on July 11 at the Morgan Arts Center. Friday features a trio of athletic events: the 23rd Annual Cheddar Open golf tournament at the Newaukum Valley Golf Course, a tennis tournament at 3 p.m. at Toledo High School and a cornhole tournament from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at high school football field. During the cornhole tournament, patrons can wander over to the high school track to race frogs for cash prizes.
The July 12 slate starts early with the car show and the Cheddar Challenge run/walk that begins at the Toledo Fire Station and is sponsored by the Toledo High School softball team. Bonanza BBQ will have a breakfast buffet beginning at 6 a.m. and a lunch one at 11 a.m.
The Cheese Days parade features a “Welcome home” theme and begins at 11 a.m. on July 13. The parade route winds from the intersection of Augustus Street and 5th Street down and around back to the intersection of Oak Street and 5th Street. Saturday’s festivities will also go late into the night, in the form of a dance from 9 p.m. to midnight at Toledo Market Fresh.
July 14 features a quartet of food-related events. The Lions Club will be hosting a beef barbecue and selling cheesecake by the slice from noon-3 p.m. at Kemp Olson Toledo Community Park. The Lions Club will then hold a beef auction at 2:30, followed by the annual pie auction sponsored by Toledo Volunteer EMS and Firefighters Association at 3 p.m.
For more information on Cheese Days, visit toledolionsclub.com.