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Windsurfing Regatta slated for June 11-13

Images from the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival 2009. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington's Lake Okabena is currently ringed by huge piles of snow, and its surface is frozen solid. It's hard to imagine that in just three months and two weeks windsurfers will skim across its water and crowds will sit on Sailboard Beach to listen to a variety of musical endeavors -- hopefully with a perfect weather mix of warm temperatures, sun and wind.

But that's just what members of the Worthington Okabena Windsurfers board envision as they plan for the 11th annual Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, slated for June 11-13. On those dates, visiting windsurfers and area residents will once again gather at Sailboard Beach to compete, absorb the music and celebrate Worthington's lake.

According to Cyndi Morrison, president of the board for a second year, fundraising for the event is already well under way, and letters have been sent out to potential sponsors once again seeking their support. Also, working with Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center's Friends of the Auditorium organization, a grant is being pursued from Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council to provide funding for the musical acts that will perform at the Unvarnished Music Festival.

"It will be a collaboration between the Friends of the Auditorium and Worthington Okabena Windsurfers/Unvarnished Music Festival," explained Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh, manager of Memorial Auditorium. "The Friends of the Auditorium actually will be sponsoring the music for the festival this year. The grant is an Arts Legacy Grant for arts and communities."

Since no gate fee is charged, such funding, along with sponsorships and financial contributions, is necessary to ensure the future success of the event.

In anticipation of receiving the grant, many of the major musical acts have already been booked for the June weekend. One of the headliners will be New Primitives, a Twin Cities-based band that performs rhythm and blues, ska, reggae, calypso and world dance music (

"They've been voted best reggae band in Minneapolis for five years," noted Morrison, referring to an honor bestowed by the Minnesota Music Awards.

Morrison has seen New Primitives perform and was impressed by the group's vibe.

"I started go to different music festivals and was at one where they were at," she explained. "They just wowed the crowd. Everybody was up on their feet. It was just amazing. ... We think it will really be fun to have reggae on the shoreline."

While Morrison searched out New Primitives, she's pleased that other musicians are broaching the Regatta board about performing at the Worthington venue.

"Our name is out there, and that's exciting," she said. "Artists are starting to talk, and we're getting a positive reputation because of that."

Also committed to the 2010 slate of musical groups are:

BOILED IN LEAD: This five-member Celtic rock group has performed together for 26 years, and its members have more than 20 Minnesota Music Awards to their credit. According to its Web site, "BiL's many instrumental dance tunes incorporate global influences, rhythms, and melodies that are guaranteed to keep the feet moving."

THE DITCH LILIES: With Kari Larson on mandolin, guitar, ukulele and vocals and Lisa Schultz on guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocals, the Ditch Lilies perform all-acoustic roots music around a single microphone. They are billed as "Wisconsin's American Roots Duo." Web site:

GALACTIC COWBOY ORCHESTRA: GCO is a four-person musical ensemble featuring guitar, fiddle, bass and drums. Their music is described as "an eclectic mix of original and traditional bluegrass-edged tunes with jazz and world/fusion elements." Bassist John Wright has previously performed at the Regatta as a member of the Celtic/American folk rock band Lehto & Wright. Web site:

PATCHOULI: Bruce Hecksel and Julie Patchouli first jammed together in 1993 at a church in Chicago and discovered a mutual desire to make music. Since then, they have toured more than half a million miles, done more than 1,800 performances and recorded 12 CDs as Patchouli, a modern folk duo. "Patchouli's deeply rooted musical base combined with advanced studies in yoga, meditation and other healing disciplines work together to make music with a remarkable capacity to inspire and uplift the human spirit," describes their Web site,

THE STROLLERS: The Strollers are a southwest Minnesota-based group. Member Jerry Ostensoe, "the Lawrence Welk of the blues," lives in Sacred Heart and has sung about the prairie and its people for 35 years. (

More details about the Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival schedule will be announced as the date grows closer.

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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