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Music theme prevails through KTD events

WORTHINGTON -- King Turkey Day is a festival steeped in tradition, with some events dating back to the very first celebration in 1939. But each year, the KTD Board of Directors likes to change things up a bit, adding some new events into the mix.

The celebration officially gets under way at 5 p.m. on Thursday, with the King Turkey Day Mixer set for a second year at Pioneer Village, adjacent to the Nobles County Fairgrounds. While in past years, participants have been encouraged to dress in Western garb -- jeans, cowboy hats, button-down shirts -- this year, the mixer will have a 1950s theme in conjunction with the "Hometown Music Explosion" theme of the overall festival. Appropriate garb is suggested, with a contest for the best-dressed individuals.

"We will have '50s music out there," explained KTD President Kari Meyer. "A two-man band will play '50s music plus other music."

Meyer noted that the turnout for last year's mixer was phenomenal, perhaps because of the change to an outdoor venue and favorable weather. But even if the weather isn't as nice on Thursday as in 2005, the mixer will go on, utilizing one of the buildings at Pioneer Village. The mixer menu is also different from previous years, featuring shredded beef instead of the traditional turkey.

A King Turkey Day button is required for entrance into the mixer.

Events will move to downtown Worthington on Friday, but again with a few twists in store. The beer garden has been moved from its Third Avenue locale to the former Campbell Soup parking lot at 10th Street and Second Avenue.

"We have more midway events this year for family and children, and we would like to use the (Third Avenue) space for that," Meyer said. "And, hopefully, the beer garden is growing, so we decided to use the empty lot to put the band there. We're going to have a big tent over top in case of rain and for protection from the sun."

The Meet the Turkey Race Teams event, featuring the team members from both Worthington and Cuero, Texas, will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday in the beer garden. At 6 p.m., the Great Turkey Day Cathlon will begin, again in a new venue -- Second Avenue, just outside the beer garden.

"In keeping with the music theme, the money raised from the Turkey Day Cathlon will go toward prizes for the marching bands in the parade," Meyer noted.

At the conclusion of the somewhat-athletic competition, the drawing for a casino trip will take place. Numbers of King Turkey Day buttons are being announced on the local radio stations, and the button owners have to call in within a certain period of time in order to be eligible for the drawing.

"Then the hometown band, the Boss Tweads, will be kicking off the entertainment in the beer garden on Friday night," said Meyer, promising a full slate of musical entertainment in the beer garden on Saturday, too.

New family events added to the KTD schedule on Saturday include an obstacle course, batting cage, tub races, train rides, a miniature golf course and, for a second year, turtle races. Of course, all the traditional elements will be there, too: Pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon; the 10K run at 10:30 a.m.; featured speaker at 1 p.m.; Great Gobbler Gallop at 1:30 p.m.; and parade at 2 p.m.

Last year, many KTD events had to be delayed or cancelled on Saturday because of heavy rain showers. Meyer is hopeful that Mother Nature will be kinder to the festival this year, although she's taking measures to ensure that sunshine will prevail.

"We're asking everyone to do the sun dance," she said with a laugh.

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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