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Participants in the regional Crown Victoria Association convention stand Sunday outside the Historic Dayton House, which will host numerous events this summer. Submitted photo

Shaking it up: Dayton House to host Chamber mixer

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WORTHINGTON — Looking for an excuse to kick back — maybe as far back as 1890?

Look no further than Worthington’s Historic Dayton House, which has scheduled several events in an effort to appeal to different audiences over the summer months, the first being tonight’s Chamber of Commerce Membership Mixer.

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“This is really a kickoff for the 10th anniversary celebration of the house’s restoration,” said Catherine Stofferahn, who began work a few months ago as the house’s event coordinator.

“We’re planning a few new things for people to try out,” she added. “Even after 10 years, there are still people who haven’t been inside the Dayton House or don’t really know what it’s all about, so we hope people will take advantage of one or more of the events that will take place this summer.

“We really, really want to expose more people to the Dayton House.”

Following closely on the heels of tonight’s Chamber mixer (with complimentary appetizers and a cash bar) will be the renewed morning coffee event from 8-11 a.m. June 10.

“We tend to get a better turnout for the morning coffees during the warmer months,” said Colleen Bents, manager of the Historic Dayton House. “The coffees are scheduled to continue on the second Tuesday of each month through October.”

During the Windsurfing Regatta, staff and volunteers are offering tours (for a small per-person fee) of the historic property from 1-5 p.m. June 13 and from 9 a.m. to noon June 14.

“People are often curious about the house — and we are happy to give tours whenever people are interested in taking them — but with so many out-of-towners here at that time, we wanted to have these special opportunities to share it then,” said Bents.

“If the weather is good, we’re just a short walk from the beach — or if it’s not so great, a house tour is a wonderful way to fill an hour.”

Beginning June 18, from 5-7 p.m., a mid-week social hour (for a modest door fee, including appetizers and a cash bar) is planned, with Stofferahn suggesting the Dayton House would make the perfect place to gather with friends before, say, the “Amazing” Worthington City Band’s weekly concert at Chautauqua Park.

“It’s halfway through the month and halfway through the week, so why not give it a try?” queried Stofferahn.

Also in the works for July 18 is a beer sampling event that will feature an area brewery and give attendees the chance to try various beers along with appetizers.

“That should be a lot of fun,” said Stofferahn, noting that past wine tastings at the house have proved very popular, especially with a younger crowd.

“The Dayton House seems to have a lot of support from the 50+ group, but we want to draw in more young people and think these events are a good way to do that,” she added.

Teresa Widboom, the current board chair of the Historic Dayton House, calls the facility “one of the city’s greatest assets.”

“It’s unique to our town, and getting out to one of these events is a way to enjoy something distinctive in our community — and maybe learn something more about the town’s history,” Widboom said.

“Or, if you’re not interested in history, just come to enjoy one of the morning coffee events or the beer sampling, and invite your friends to join you.”

At an Aug. 11 evening picnic, the 10-year anniversary of the Dayton House’s $2 million renovation project will be duly celebrated.

“The house has hosted many visitors over the past 10 years, and as a result of that, we do face some challenges,” noted Bents.

For instance, the house’s expansive porch, which is often an inviting spot for guests to linger during various events and has been the chosen site for many weddings, has suffered from apparent moisture issues and needs to undergo a full replacement.

“We’re planning a membership drive, and there will be a fundraising effort to help cover the costs of the porch project and other ongoing maintenance needs, too,” Bents said.

In the meantime, Bents, Stofferahn and Widboom hope the community will keep in mind that two spacious guest suites are available for public rental on the house’s second floor, and that summer events at the Dayton House are a great way to entertain summer visitors.

“Especially for out-of-town guests who may not be aware of the house’s existence, an outing to the Dayton House may provide the perfect diversion for an exhausted hostess,” Widboom said.

“And the guest suites are so lovely, and are an ideal place to put up guests if you need an extra room for family or friends who are visiting.”

“People who stay in the suites always comment on how quiet and relaxing a place it is to stay,” confirmed Bents, adding that many dates for suite rentals remain available throughout the coming months.

Although tonight’s Chamber of Commerce membership mixer is intended primarily for….well, members of the Chamber of Commerce, Bents and Stofferahn assure that no interested parties will be turned away.

“We always welcome people into the Dayton House,” said Bents, saying that more than 100 attendees of the Crown Victoria convention last weekend enjoyed Sunday morning tours at the house.

“We’re hoping people will pick an event or two and take advantage of it,” urged Stofferahn.

“There’s a good number of things planned, and 10 years is most certainly worth celebrating for what the Dayton House has brought to our community since its restoration,” said Widboom. “We want the town to rally around these events and pay homage to what the Dayton House brings to the City of Worthington and the surrounding area.”

For more information about upcoming events or membership at the Historic Dayton House, 1311 Fourth Ave., Worthington, “like” the Historic Dayton House on Facebook, visit www.daytonhouse.org, call 507-727-1311, or email daytonhouse@iw.net.

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Jane Moore
Jane has been a contributing writer to the Daily Globe since 1997. Previously, she held professional positions in corporate communications, alumni relations and journalism. She earned a B.A. in English with a minor in German at Carleton College. Jane handles the weekly "Looking Back" column and frequently writes education, fine arts and news features for the Daily Globe. Her blog can be viewed at www.timeformoore.areavoices.com.
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