Something borrowed, something new
WORTHINGTON -- This year's King Turkey sports a borrowed theme and recycled artwork -- and yet it's a total original. The button depicts two crowned turkeys, small outlines of the states of Minnesota and Texas and some other unique touches thrown in.
"The theme is a little different this year," explained 2008 King Turkey Day President Paul Larson. "We're using the same theme as Cuero, Texas: 'Two Towns, Two Birds, One Legend.' We got wind of their theme, and we just thought it was wonderful and asked for permission to use it, too."
The cartoon turkeys -- displayed beak to beak on the Worthington button -- are from an original cartoon of probably the 1970s era created by former Daily Globe cartoonist Bob Artley. Now retired and living in Florida, Artley regularly drew political cartoons and illustrations for the newspaper and captured slices of Worthington's annual September celebration along the way.
The turkey with the crown was pictured among "some of the dignitaries" at King Turkey Day in a cartoon with several vignettes.
"We're excited to have Bob Artley's artwork on the button," said Larson. "The two turkeys on there are from an original drawing by him, and his autograph is on there, too. His family has donated a large collection of his artwork to Minnesota West Community and Technical College here in Worthington, and an exhibit of that work is being planned in conjunction with Turkey Day."
Reached via telephone at his Winter Haven, Fla., home, Artley recalled that he had a lot of fun putting together turkey-themed cartoons each year and was tickled that his artwork would be featured on the button. Now 91 years old, Artley isn't able to draw as prolifically as he once did.
"I am working on my book, "Memories of a Farm Kitchen,'" Artley said. "It's going pretty slow. Thankfully, I was able to do the illustrations for it before my eyes went bad. My son Steve and daughter Joni are going to finish it up for me."
The drawing is Artley's, but the overall design of the button fell to Nate Einck, a graphic designer at the Daily Globe. Einck added color to Artley's black-and-white image and incorporated other elements that fitted into the "Two Towns, Two Birds, One Legend" theme. Designing a KTD button has long been a goal for Einck.
"I had submitted designs before," he said. "I had always wanted to do one, ever since a high school art class in which we were asked to submit button designs for an education-themed button in 1996. Mine didn't get chosen, but the drawing they picked was done by a buddy of mine."
After graduating from Worthington High School in 1997, Einck studied graphic design at a technical school in Mankato. Creating the button was a change of pace from his usual tasks of designing ads. The button art will also be put on a T-shirt for sale in the weeks leading up to King Turkey Day.
"I'm definitely pleased with how it turned out," Einck said. "It was a privilege to work with the Artley piece and also to be part of the celebration."
Sharing a theme with Cuero is especially appropriate this year, noted Larson, because it is a "reunion" year, an observance of the 35th running of the Great Gobbler Gallop turkey race that decides which community, Worthington or Cuero, has the right to call itself the Turkey Capital of the Year. Members of past turkey race teams from both towns have been asked to take part in both King Turkey Day and Turkeyfest in Cuero.
Turkeyfest officials have reported that the button for Cuero's celebration also utilizes the theme and features two birds: one wearing cowboy getup to represent Cuero; and the other dressed in hat and mittens for a Worthington winter. Landmarks from both cities can be seen in the button background.
Buttons have become an integral part of the celebrations in both towns, with Worthington's dating back to King Turkey Day's early years. The KTD button also plays a financial role, Larson emphasized.
"That's one of our major fundraising tools," he said. "The sale of the buttons helps to offset expenses, so it's a very important part of King Turkey Day."
Each button comes with a book full of coupons for area businesses. The buttons will be available starting this week at the sponsoring businesses, local banks and the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office.