fun night, great message

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The kiddles and I attended the Safe Community Coalition‘s 11th Annual Zero-Proof Mix-Off tonight, and it was wonderful with a capital W! What is the Zero-Proof Mix-Off you say? It’s a friendly competition among local businesses and organizations to create a beverage that can be served around the holidays made completely without alcohol. Sure, who doesn’t love a good drink around Christmas time, but it definitely doesn’t make for safe driving. The Mix-Off offers up tasty recipes that will keep you safe on the roads and help you celebrate responsibly. Tonight there were plenty of great drinks, beautiful displays, and fun people. This event never disappoints, and tonight they saw the largest crowd to date!

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the kids to the Mix-Off, mainly because another organization I am part of has had a drink entry. This year, I decided to take the kids and enjoy the event as an attendee. I picked the kids up from daycare and gave them the “pep talk” in the car. The rules were as follows: don’t touch ANYTHING on the tables unless someone hands it to you or I get it for you, no running off since this will be very busy, no coughing on things, and, lastly, don’t embarrass me in front of my work colleagues. I was praying for a Christmas miracle because I knew it would be very hard for them to behave and follow the rules with all of the excitement going on.

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yay! we made it to the mix-off!

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completely enthralled with the candyland-themed drink

It didn’t take long for Santa arrive, and they were sooooo excited! We had to hop out of the tasting line to talk with him and get a pic.

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dear santa, we have been vvvveeeerrrrryyyyy good this year…

And no Lorain County event is complete without a visit from Stomper Bear of the Lake Erie Crushers minor league baseball team!

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go, crushers!

Luckily, my Christmas wish was answered. The kids were so well behaved. I can’t say they were complete angels 100% of the time, but I was very proud of them. I think the only time it got a little crazy was when Cole and Cael were flirting with my cute co-workers, Ali, Katie, and Sara. I told you these boys were smooth.

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watch out, paul. cael is movin’ in on your woman.

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the kiddles and ali

Before the winners were announced, a very special speaker had the floor. Tom Tomasheski, one of this year’s Mix-Off judges, was a victim of a very unfortunate drunk driving accident in 2011. He was driving with his wife and two children when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver. The driver had previous drunk driving convictions and a suspended license. The Tomasheski family was doing everything right – all wearing seat belts, children in the backseat of the car, obeying the speed limit. Mr. Tomasheski lost half of his family that day when the crash took both his wife and son. He and his daughter were present tonight to stress the importance of responsible driving. I looked around the room when he was speaking and saw numerous people crying. I admired his courage and strength to be able to stand in front of the audience and retell his story and looked upon him with great admiration for using his experience to educate and save others. I am hoping that everyone in the audience today will take away the message that drinking and driving don’t go together, ever.

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standing ovation for mr. tomasheski

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Following Mr. Tomasheski’s moving speech, the Mix-Off presented the winners. My kids were very happy because the girls’ favorite, the Candyland one, won Best Presentation, and the boys practically went crazy when their fave, the Angry Birds-themed Cherry Bomb, won Best Overall.

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some of the mix-off winners

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kiddles hamming it up onstage with the emcees

Thank you, Safe Community Coalition, for yet another successful event, and great job to all involved in the planning. It keeps getting better year after year, and I’m already looking forward to 2013!

And readers, keep the Tomasheski family in your thoughts when you’re celebrating with your family this holiday season and think twice before you let yourself or a family member get behind the wheel, even after one drink.

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