Grand Opening event raised $17,000 for NEST Community Learning Center

By Chuck Gibson

 CINCINNATI, OHIO – (September 4, 2020)  – A drive by The Landing Event Center on Friday, August 28, would have left anyone wondering how Loveland’s newest entertainment attraction on the Scenic Little Miami River could possibly be ready to host a Grand Opening charity event for NEST Community Learning Center on Saturday, August 29.

The unfinished interior of The Landing Event Center Saturday, August 29, 2020 (Chuck Gibson)

Somehow, despite being at the mercy of unfinished construction, The Landing General Manager Jodi Taylor pulled it off. More than 175 people showed up for the unveiling of the new event center on Karl Brown Way situated alongside the river behind Bond Furniture.

“We absolutely know we are not completely finished,” said Taylor. “You figure it out; you don’t push this off. There is a need. We made this commitment.”

Owners of The Landing Event Center made a commitment to host the Grand Opening event to help NEST Community Learning Center raise money at a time of special need. Due to the changes in learning schedules for Loveland students brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic health and safety protocols, NEST has had to pivot from the after-school learning program, to meeting the needs of the kids throughout the day every day. 

Evangeline DeVol, Founder/CEO NEST Community Learning Center (Chuck Gibson)

According to NEST Founder & CEO Evangeline (Van) DeVol) the increased cost for NEST to meet those needs is estimated at $80,000 for the year. Taylor says The Landing knows the need and wanted to honor their commitment to help.

“We were going as quickly as we could,” Taylor said. “All in all, from an event perspective, I can think of tons of things we could change to make it better, but given the situation and not being 100-percent finished, I’m happy because we raised money for NEST. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about us.”

It was all about NEST and the community. It wasn’t exactly a who’s-who of Loveland, but a lot of familiar faces from the community were on hand to support NEST and, of course, check out The Landing Event Center. Loveland Mayor Kathy Bailey made an appearance during the evening festivities. Councilman Neal Oury was there along with his wife Lynn. Of course Bishop’s Quarter owner and The Landing partner Kevin Maloff was on hand for the opening event. The guests included many members of the NEST board of directors and volunteers.

“It was very successful,” said NEST Founder & CEO, Evangeline DeVol. “We need to be out there all day long for the kids. When we put a new budget together, we were looking at raising $80,000 for the school year. Wonderfully, the event Saturday put a dent in that and we raised $17,000.  I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Leah Moss & April Braddock, two active members of the NEST team. (Chuck Gibson)

L-R Tim O’Grady and Kay Bolin-O’Grady with Greg & Susan Allspach (Chuck Gibson)

Delectable desserts from Cocoa Bites were a favorite featured food (Chuck Gibson)

DeVol pointed to the support of the entire community. Businesses and restaurants from all around Loveland had the opportunity to be a part of it. Foods and desserts featured a delicious taste of local restaurants like Bishop’s Quarter, Ramsey’s Trailside Café, Tano’s, The Works, Hometown, Loveland Catering, and delectable desserts form Cocoa Bites to name a few. Greg Allspach and his wife, local attorney Susan Allspach (Gertz Law) were there. Tim O’Grady and his wife Kay Bolin-O’Grady (Whistle Stop Clay Works) made the rounds. People told DeVol it was great fun and the first time in a long time things just felt like normal. They were happy to get out and socialize.

Ramsey’s was among the restaurants dishing out dining delights (Chuck Gibson)

“It was nice to do something normal; to feel normal again just for an evening,” DeVol said. “The Landing did a great job. I love the inside. You wait until it’s done, it’s going to be magnificent.”

Kay Bolin noted the unique venue offering in Loveland.

 “I was very impressed,” said Bolin. “The uniqueness they’re offering here in Loveland – you get to look out over the river with beautiful trees around you. The outside area was so comfortable- I can’t find the words. The inside is perfect for an event like that indoors. I was just blown away by what they are able to offer in Loveland; to have it outside. The Landing Event Center is wonderful.”

It seems a lot of people had a very good impression. The Landing GM, Jodi Taylor said there was a spike in inquiries about reservations in the week following the Grand Opening. Several people booked event dates for the coming year. The Landing is not waiting around though. Beginning Sunday, September 20, “Live at the Landing” will feature local live musical performances from 3-6 p.m. free to the public with The Landing open 1- 7 p.m. The next big event is already in the works with planning well underway for a Saturday, September 26, Oktoberfest Celebration in Loveland.

Guests enjoyed the music of the Dan Varner Band on the outdoor patio (Chuck Gibson)

If last Saturday with Dan Varner and Friends providing the outdoor musical entertainment is any indicator of things to come, then The Landing Event Center will be just one more reason for Loveland to be a destination for people seeking active fun. The fact the venue is not even complete only left people eager to see what is yet to come with the unique mix of modern and rustic features. There is a story behind almost every beam and the distinctive metal entrance. Again, opening night was for NEST, but the character of The Landing bodes well for the future. 

The silent auction and fun inside and outside made the Grand Opening of The Landing Event Center a big success for NEST and fun for the community (Chuck Gibson)

“Again, the city came together,” DeVol said. “We were highlighting something new that will bring people into Loveland – which is what we want to keep Loveland active, alive and a place people want to come and visit and have a good time. We raised money for the at-risk kids in this community. The focus of it couldn’t be better.” 

Click here to visit The Landing Event Center online

Click here for more on NEST Community Learning Center