Flock to the fairgrounds (with video)WORTHINGTON — Thousands of people are expected to flock to Worthington for King Turkey Day festivities Friday and Saturday, and with many of the events located at the Nobles County Fairgrounds, there is plenty of space and even more events for people to enjoy.
WORTHINGTON — Thousands of people are expected to flock to Worthington for King Turkey Day festivities Friday and Saturday, and with many of the events located at the Nobles County Fairgrounds, there is plenty of space and even more events for people to enjoy.
Traditional events like the Turkey Day 10K, featured speaker, Great Gobbler Gallop and King Turkey Day parade will still take place on 10th Street in downtown Worthington, while new and expanded attractions are relocating to the fairgrounds.
KTD President Brian Almberg said the location change for the midway, food vendors and Smokin’ Gobbler Cook-Off will provide the additional space and power hook-ups needed to help the annual celebration grow.
“We wanted to add more things and make it more appealing to a broad range of people,” Almberg said.
The cook-off, which lured 18 teams to town for last year’s event, has more than doubled this year with 38 of the possible 40 slots already spoken for. The contest will include three of the top five teams in the nation, with participants cooking up ribs, brisket and chicken for cash prizes and competitive points. Turkey, in honor of King Turkey Day, is an optional addition to the local contest.
The cook-off will be on the lawn just south of the race track fence, with plenty of power available for the competitors. Last year, Almberg said two rented generators were required to make the contest work downtown.
In addition to the cooking competition, people will be able to buy a chance at winning a new smoker, valued at $750, at the fairgrounds. Tickets will be sold on site, with the drawing slated for 5 p.m. Saturday. You must be present to win.
Just one contestant in the cooking contest will sell product to KTD attendees, although Almberg is hopeful more will be interested in selling food next year. Rest assured, there are plenty of other food vendors who will be at the fairgrounds both Friday and Saturday.
Nearly a dozen vendors will be selling food at the fairgrounds, including the Nobles County Corn and Soybean Growers, who will take over the FFA food stand to serve up ribeye sandwiches and French fries both days. Three food vendors will be set up on Third Avenue downtown, where they will be open during the pre-parade and parade activities Saturday.
The fairgrounds will also host the midway, which will consist of a variety of inflatables this year. Wristbands can be purchased in advance and will also be sold on the grounds, providing hours of jumping and jiggling fun for the kids. The inflatables will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. They will be located on the lawn where the midway operates during the county fair.
“Every elementary-aged student will get one free ride ticket in school to come out here,” Almberg said.
Newly added to the KTD lineup this year is a Vendor Expo, open from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Approximately 30 vendors will sell everything from candles and cosmetics to home décor, jewelry, packaged foods, fine arts and other products. The expo will be in the commercial building on the fairgrounds.
A Zumba class will be offered in the open air stage west of the commercial building Friday evening. Movies, including “Madagascar” and “The Lorax,” will be shown in Olson Arena on Friday night. A giant sandbox filled with hidden tokens will be open between McCarvel and Benton halls both Friday and Saturday.
The popular Fowl Play event, which includes a variety of games for the turkey race teams and other contestants, begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the blacktop drive extending from the ice arena to the grandstand on the fairgrounds. It will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by the Ping Pong Ball drop from the Worthington Fire Department’s ladder truck; prizes will be awarded.
Other activities at the fairgrounds include the beer garden, open from 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 11:59 p.m. Saturday; Plain Train rides for the kids from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday; a community worship concert in Olson Arena from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and the ’80s rock band, Hairball, concert starting at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Parking will be on the south side of the swine barn and west of the ice arena, extending toward Pioneer Village. Handicapped parking will be created in the area behind the floral and fine arts building.
The 17-member KTD board of directors as well as countless volunteers spent months getting everything in place for this week’s celebration, and Almberg is appreciative of all the work that goes into making KTD a success.
“We’ve got a great team of board members and volunteers, as well as the ladies at the Chamber,” he said.
A complete schedule of events, including those at other venues in the community, as well as an events map may be viewed online at www.dglobe.com.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.