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Divas Through the Decades, a musical tribute to some of the most influential female vocalists in American pop music, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

No shortage of New Year's Eve events

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news Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON —There’s no shortage of ways to usher in 2014 in Worthington this year. Entertainment options for New Year’s Eve run the gamut from dancing to nostalgic music; being entertained by a bevy of female singers; and the chance to win a jackpot in a game of bingo.

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The new Worthington Event Center —which began operation earlier this year —is offering what organizers hope will be the first of many New Year’s parties. The idea for the extravaganza was planted during the center’s grand opening bash, which featured the music of three bands, including Starfire, a regional group that specializes in nostalgic rock ’n’ roll music.

“What happened is my boss was talking with Mayor Al Oberloh at the grand opening event, and they liked the band and said, ‘Let’s get them for New Year’s Eve,’’ recalled Jackie Tentinger, the facility’s sales director and events manager.

The price of the ticket to the Event Center bash will include an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet, dancing to the music of Starfire and some extra perks such as a photo booth and door prizes.

“They do a lot of photo booths at weddings, and I thought it would be a nice way to get some fun memories,” said Tentinger.

“It comes out of Hadley —the name of the business is Sit N Grin — and they will be changing themes throughout the evening.”

Tickets to the event are still available by calling Comfort Inn and Suites, 295-9185; a hotel room and ticket combo special is already sold out.

Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center always tries to book some special entertainment for New Year’s Eve night, and this year Divas Through the Decades will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.

“These girls are a barrel of fun,” said auditorium manager Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh. “They do a musical tribute. The reason why the Friends of the Auditorium booked them for this is we’ve all actually heard them, and they are all excellent vocalists. They have a fun show that is interactive, as they will bring people up on stage.”

Divas Through the Decades has toured across the country, according to Vosburgh, and has also performed on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and opened in Las Vegas for comedienne Joan Rivers.

“They do some of the most influential vocalists through the decades, starting in the ’40s with the Andrews Sisters and all the way up to current hits, so you’re going to be looking at Diana Ross and The Supremes, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift,” described Vosburgh. “It really is something for all ages, with some comedy, the audience interaction, choreography and great costumes.”

The show will be a last hurrah of sorts for Vosburgh, as she has announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

“It certainly will be a fun way to ring in the New Year,” she said.

The auditorium box office is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and Tuesday and will reopen at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for last-minute ticket sales. Phone 376-9101.

For some people, New Year’s Eve is the time to get out their dauber and play a little bingo in hopes of winning a jackpot. Bingo night on New Year’s Eve at the Reading Community Center has been a longtime tradition.

“We’ve probably been doing it for 25 years,” said organizer Jesse Liepold. “That’s guessing, but I think it’s pretty close. It’s just to give people an option for New Year’s Eve if they don’t want to go to a bar. We’ve got a pretty regular group that comes out.”

Bingo is played every Tuesday night at the Reading Community Center, but the New Year’s event is a bit different, according to Liepold.

“The first session we run it as a regular night,” he said. “The second session we pay out 100 percent, and then we give them a free lunch afterward. Just guessing, I’d say we’ll be paying out roughly $800 the second session.”

Bingo nights are a fundraiser for the center, with the funds going to pay utilities and a custodian; any leftover funds are donated to a local youth organization.

All players must be 18 years of age.

“It’s a different group that comes on New Year’s Eve,” said Liepold. “Some people who don’t come throughout the year come on New Year’s Eve. It gives them something to do.”

The first bingo session is schedule to begin at 7 p.m. and the second at 9:30 p.m.; free lunch will follow.

Other New Year’s Eve happenings in Worthington include:

BENLEE’S CAFÉ: Free entertainment by local students will be featured on the BenLee’s stage from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

ELKS LODGE: A ribeye steak or walleye meal, accompanied by baked potato, salad and roll, will be served from 5 p.m. until gone.

GROUND ROUND: A prime rib special will be featured, with Red Velvet cake served for dessert. There will also be a New Year’s countdown to midnight with party favors.

HICKORY LODGE BAR & GRILL: Food and drink specials will be offered throughout the evening. DJ Coop will play music beginning at 10 p.m., and there will be a New Year’s countdown to midnight.

LONG BRANCH SALOON: A New Year’s Bash party is planned with drink specials and giveaways of shirts, hats and beads throughout the evening. A free DJ will play from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and there will be a New Year’s countdown to midnight.

VFW CLUB: DJ Tony Winter will offer music from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers may be reached at 376-7327.

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