A little rain never hurt anyone: festival goes on through weather
WORTHINGTON -- The weekend may have been overcast and rainy, but that didn't stop the 14th Annual Windsurfing and Unvarnished Music Festival from being a success.
"I think everyone was quite pleased with how things turned out," said event organizer Bill Keitel. "We dealt with some weather issues, but it just shows how adaptable we are."
While some of the weekend's activities were canceled or had delayed starts, many events were held despite the unfavorable weather.
For Worthington's first Color Dash, YMCA Health and Fitness Director Ryan Seykora couldn't have asked for a better turn out.
"I think a lot of credit has to be given to the participants. We weren't sure what to expect, but everyone embraced the environment and the scenario, and I think everyone had fun, including the volunteers," he said.
The event was a YMCA fundraiser for the YPals program, and over 30 volunteers helped Saturday morning, many throwing powdered color at runners and walkers as they went by.
Seykora won't know the exact number of participants for a couple weeks he said, but before the run/walk they had over 500 registered and he estimated that another 100 registered the day of.
When Ashley Goettig heard about the Color Dash in Worthington, she knew right away that she wanted to participate.
"I had heard about the color runs they do in different towns, and a lot weren't close and weren't easy to go too, so when I heard we were having one, I knew immediately I would do it to," she said.
Goettig ran with her mom, step-dad and aunt and said they all had a good time.
"We're all already planning on doing it again next year," she said. "It was so much fun. The best part was the suspense of when you see the powder coming, and you're wondering what color you're going to get next. It was a great event."
Worthington Mayor Al Oberloh also took part in the Color Dash -- even though he doesn't consider himself a runner.
"It's probably the first time I've done any running since I was a little kid - I've always wondered why anyone would run when they could drive," he said.
But when he heard about the YMCA's fundraiser, he said he thought it sounded
Like many other participants, Oberloh was unsure how the weather would affect the turnout for the event and said that he anticipated maybe half of the 500 that were registered would show up.
"But I don't think that was the case at all," he said. "People were in a really good mood. People were dancing around to the music they were planning beforehand, and even afterward, people were still running around."
Seykora said they learned a lot from hosting the Color Run, and he is already thinking of changes that could be made for next year.
"There are some ideas we've had to create some more fun on top of this," he said. "I think we have to keep looking at the next thing to keep people engage and build off of this. We've learned some things and can only get better from here."
After being delayed due to constant rain throughout the morning, the windsurfers finally decided they had enough waiting and jumped into the water Saturday afternoon.
"We were already wet so we figured we might as well get out there," said race director Jeff Hegwer. "(The windsurfers) aren't here to sit on the beach. They want to race, and that's what we're going to do."
Hegwer explained that throughout the windsurfing season, competitive windsurfers are awarded points at each windsurfing regatta they compete in. For the Worthington windsurfing regatta to "count" towards the windsurfers total points, at least three races needed to be held.
The race committee was able to squeeze in three races on Saturday with nine to ten competitors in each race.
"Most are from the region -- Chicago, Wisconsin, and all the states around here. We got all three done today, incase tomorrow was worse than today, to legitimize the event," Hegwer said on Saturday evening.
Hegwer's fears were unfounded. On Sunday the weather became more favorable, and they were able to hold additional races.
With the lake's cool temperatures, many spectators were content to stay on the beach, but Hegwer said it's the race committee that sits in the boat throughout the races that has the hardest job.
"They are there at the start of the line and at the finish line. You have to sit there until you start and until you end. The facilities aren't too good and you aren't real warm," he said with a laugh.
The final results of the Windsurfing Regatta are:
- A-Fleet: 1. Adam Anderson; 2. Alex Monroe; 3. Arden Anderson; 4. Peter Hartwich and 5. Andy Gratten.
- Court fleet (intermediate level): 1. Andrea Gratten.
- Kona Fleet: 1. Randy Howell; 2. Randy Moon; 3. Mike Fox; 4. Jeff Adamski; 5.Del Carpenter
- Top competitors in the Workshop Fleet (entry level) included: Clare Ludes, Garson Christenson, and Jeff Ludes.
The rain also affected some of the children's activities that Gail Holinka, arts coordinator for the Regatta, had planned, but with the help of volunteers, she welcomed children out of the rain to decorate tote bags or paint suncatchers on Saturday.
"The weather is going to do what it's going to do," she said. "We're Minnesotans. We can handle it. At least it isn't snowing!"
All the materials used for the craft projects were purchased through a donation from the Optimist Club, and Holinka said that they will find a use for the outdoor supplies during future community events.
Chalk artist Shawn McCann had planned on finishing a 3D drawing on the street but instead spent Saturday helping Holinka in the children's craft tent. On Friday night, McCann covered his work with a tarp, and on Saturday said he hoped he would be able to finish the project on Sunday. In the meantime, he enjoyed working with the children that stopped into the arts tent.
"It's been fun to keep the creativity alive and help the kids with their creativity," he said. "It's been a fantasist weekend. It's been great to see the kids and to come down to Worthington. I've had a great time with Gail, and she has made it a welcoming experience."
The Prairie Ecology Bus was also at Sailboard Beach on Saturday to share animal exhibits with children and adults. While they had originally intended to have an outdoor display, they were able to lay out the animal pelts and environmental displays inside the bus.
They had information about a variety of native Minnesota animals from the prairie and prairie forest, including an animal scat matching game, said Naturalist Clay Steele.
"People don't get to see this stuff very often, and it's hard to find these animals in their native habitat. Here we can have them all in one place," he said.
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.