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‘Downton Abbey’ coming to Worthington

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‘Downton Abbey’ coming to Worthington
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON — Friday promises to be festive on the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Coupled with a “Celebrations Around the World” event, Pioneer Public Television will be showing a preview of Season 4 of its popular “Downton Abbey” program, The show is free and begins at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Performing and Fine Arts.

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“This ‘Downton Abbey’ is a runaway hit for PBS,” said Patrick Moore, Pioneer Public TV Communications Coordinator. “It’s broken all the records for any PBS show. A couple months ago, we got an email from PBS in Boston saying ‘we are going to allow a free hour sneak preview.’

Because we have two licenses, we get to show it twice,” Moore continued. “We thought about where we wanted to show it, and we decided to show one in Worthington and one in Fergus Falls.”

The Celebrations Around the World event begins at 5 p.m. and has a fee, which is a donation to the Minnesota West Foundation. The money sponsors scholarships.

“Many of our students that are of diverse backgrounds really have a difficult time trying to get financial help for college,” Minnesota West Coordinator of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Le Lucht said. “Through the foundation, we’re able to do that. Any money raised goes back to student scholarships for our ethnically-diverse students.”

The event is focused around the different cultures in the area. Lucht expects to have somewhere around 25 different booths set up.

“For that donation, people will be given a plate and cups. There will be food to experience at different tables. It won’t be a complete meal, but you’ll get a taste,” Lucht said.

“It’s just a wonderful time for our community to come together and hopefully a lot of donations for the foundation help our student scholarships.”

Minnesota West Community Development Coordinator Roxanne Hayenga serves on the Pioneer Public TV board. She was excited to be able to feature such a popular show in Worthington as an addition to the multicultural celebration.

“We’re trying to bring something into a different geographic area because we’re so far south in the whole Pioneer Public TV audience viewing,” she said. “They had called me because I was on the board and asked if there was any place that they could do this. I thought it was a good fit for Minnesota West. The theater is a little bit smaller, so it’s a little more intimate.”

According to Moore, Worthington was a natural fit for many reasons, including the fact Pioneer TV has produced some of their “Postcard” shows from events in Worthington.

“This is like a thank you to the community of Worthington,” Moore said. “The support we get from you guys — we are a member-supported public television station serving the rural areas of the state. We can’t do it without the support of the people down there. This is a fun way to say thank you and to meet and connect, and hopefully through programs like ‘Postcards’ we can kind of lift up the community and have more interaction.”

Moore said a big contingent is planning on attending the event.

“We’re bringing the whole entourage down,” he said. “We’re bringing the general manager, myself, our membership director — the producer of ‘Postcards’ is going to be here. We’re going to do it up. We’re going to come and take part in the international taste of the world and then go over to the theater there. It’s going to be a fun night. We’re looking forward to it.”

The show is based on the Crawley family in pre-World War I England.

“It’s about this aristocratic family in the 1910s, right before World War I, and their world is falling apart,” Moore said of the show. “It’s kind of an upstairs and downstairs thing where they have the lives of the servants and the lives of the aristocratic family. It’s a new age drama where everything is much shorter — it’s not drawn out.”

If people haven’t had a chance to watch the first three seasons of “Downton Abbey,” that’s OK.

“If you have not watched ‘Downton Abbey,’ we are also partnering with the Nobles County Library because they are helping us get the word out,” Hayenga said. “They actually have the past season DVDs you could watch. You can also stream them online.”

Tickets for Celebrations Around the World, which is part of the Culture Corner and in collaboration with the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, can be purchased the night of the event.

The “Downton Abbey” event is free, but people are encouraged to contact Hayenga at 372-3468 to reserve a seat. It will be first-come, first-serve the night of the event. Dressing in clothing that depicts the time period is also encouraged.