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Organizers set sail on plans for 2014 Windsurfing Nationals

In less than six months, this view from Sailboard Beach will be filled with the colorful sails of windsurfers rather than snow and icehouses. (BETH RICKERS/DAILY GLOBE)1 / 2
A windsurfing competitor takes to the waves of Lake Okabena during the 2012 Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival. (FILE PHOTO)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — It’s been a little more than six months since the announcement was made that Worthington would host the 2014 U.S. Windsurfing National Championships, and it’s a little less than six months until the opening ceremonies. That means planning will kick into high gear in the opening weeks of the new year.

“The Nationals is a five-day event versus a three-day event,” explained Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival President Ken Moser. “So June 11 will be the opening ceremonies, and then water activities will be that Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

The selection of Worthington as the 2014 Nationals site was announced during the 2013 Regatta in June. This is the third time Worthington has been selected as the host city, having previously been the locale in 2003 and 2008, so organizers know what to expect, but they also want to improve on previous efforts.

With that in mind, Moser plans to call a “summit” sometime in early January to discuss what can be done to make the 2014 event the best ever.

“We’ve never brought all the stakeholders together,” said Moser, listing city officials, media, local businesspeople and others who have an interest in pulling off a highly successful festival. “We need to discuss what have we done right; what have we done wrong?”

Some possible areas of improvement have already been identified, Moser shared, including changes in layout to the site to improve flow and logistics, and recruiting musicians who can draw a bigger crowd to the music festival and increase revenue.

“We have to virtually double our efforts for two more days of music,” said Moser. “We need some music that will draw more people down there so they will buy more food, buy more beer. The right music can pump our revenue up.”

The layout of the Sailboard Beach site may be modified to accommodate the larger scope of the Nationals.

“It’s just gotten so big with even a three-day event that we’re running out of space,” Moser explained. “We need to spread things out, and we’ve had very gracious neighbors who let us take over their neighborhood for five days this year.

“One of the other things we’re talking about is trying to find sponsors for a couple more tents so we can have part of the seating area for the music under tents in case of inclement weather,” added Moser, remembering how weather has affected performances in the past. “The key there is money.”

Consequently, fundraising will begin in earnest in the early part of the year. More days and more music will take more money, Moser noted, so sponsors will be asked to up their contributions and additional sponsors will be sought.

“Typically in the past we’ve had a budget of about $25,000,” he said. “We’re going to go out and beg, borrow and steal and try to pump that up to $40,000 or $50,000 if we can.”

Once again, the committee hopes to attract a wide variety of food vendors to the summer festival, and Arts on the Shore will continue with activities for children and hopefully an artist in residence.

“Many of the food vendors have already said they’re coming back for the Nationals,” Ken noted. “There’s also the chance there will be a (long distance) bicycle ride coming through town, and they have requested to converge here and be part of the Regatta on Saturday night. We’re still ironing out all of that.”

In addition to additional funds, a larger force of volunteers will be needed to stage a National event. Anyone interested in getting involved is asked to contact the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, 372-2919.

“Committees will soon start meeting monthly if not every other week,” said Moser. “We have a lot of commitments that need to be made by March 1.”

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

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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