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Three days of fun at the Regatta

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Sailors jostle for position at the beginning of a race during Saturday regatta action on Lake Okabena in Worthington.9 / 9

WORTHINGTON -- Perfect weather dominated the final two days of the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, as Saturday's sunshine was ideal for festival-goers and Sunday's higher winds were sublime for windsurfers.

"It's a great event. We like to have a place to go to hang out with other windsurfers," said Sol Brich, of Pierre, S.D., a recreational windsurfer. "It doesn't matter if the wind blows, really."

Brich is a 26-year veteran of windsurfing, and attended the Worthington Regatta the first time this year in order to meet some local sailors in preparation for a move to Flandreau, S.D.

Brich and Stacy Splittstoesser of Dubuque, Iowa, were well prepared for Saturday's nearly-windless day, and brought an inflatable kayak, bikes and running shoes to the festival.

"It's a nice lake. I'll be back," Brich said.

Finding fun on the becalmed Lake Okabena wasn't difficult for Regatta-goers on Saturday. Mark Ludes of Worthington took Ainsley Christensen, 8, and Jeff Ludes, 8, for a paddle in a canoe.

Stand-up paddleboards were also a big hit in Saturday's flat waters, as people skimmed back and forth over the lake on boards using paddles.

Windsurfers did a little racing Saturday.

"I would say it's been pretty rough due to lack of wind. It's hard to maneuver out there," said Ray Muller, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, also known as T. Bay Ray, on Saturday. "It's supposed to be better tomorrow. Regardless, a good time will be had by all, with the music and festival and everything that's going on."

Muller is a three-year veteran of the Regatta in Worthington, and brought racing equipment for both heavy and light wind conditions.

"Most people that come to these things come prepared for anything," Muller said with a smile. "If not, they just sit and relax and enjoy the weekend -- that's what it's all about, enjoying the weekend, wind or no wind."

There was plenty to enjoy. Arts on the Shore featured a variety of artists and crafters in booths along the shoreline.

"It's been pretty good," said Gail Gruis of Fulda, who offered jewelry and stained glass art from Gail's Glass Creations.

Goblets were the hot seller at Dawn Dorschner's Spafford Pottery booth on Saturday, though large bowls were also a popular purchase.

"I love it," Dorschner said of the Regatta. "To me it's like a mini-vacation, the music and the people and the windsurfers -- and meeting other artists."

As it is in most years, the children's art tent, run by a dozen volunteers, many from the Worthington High School AOK (Art-Optimist-Kiwanis) Club, was a big hit. Approximately 350 kids got their art on and made projects at the Regatta this year, funded by $600 from the Optimist Club and $500 from the Comprehensive Arts Planning Program.

Artists Nick and Nicole Fischer of Aberdeen, S.D., also supervised kids -- and a few adults -- in the creation of a fish mural, which may eventually end up in the Worthington Area YMCA.

Swimming was another option, though not one for the faint of heart or easily-chilled.

"It's cold!" said Brayen Haring, 9, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who attended the Regatta with friends and family, and said he hoped to return again next year.

New this year to the Regatta was a booth run by Karrie Scholtes of Wilmont, who was raising money for the Southwest Minnesota Dance Team's trip to the Outback Bowl by doing face painting and creating "crazy hair" arrangements with flowers, glitter and glow sticks.

Mackenzie Meyeraan, 8, of Worthington, sported sparkles, orange coloring and a big blue flower in her hair Saturday, along with a butterfly face-painting, a purple lei and a pink outfit.

Even the very youngest people had fun at the Regatta, including triplets Alexandra, Karsten and Elise Brown of Worthington, 14 months. Their mother, Andrea Brown of Hurley, S.D., who attends the Regatta to see people she doesn't get to see very often, tugged the triplets behind her in wagons.

Water Wars, in which people could fling water balloons at each other, were also new to the Regatta this year.

"We're just letting people get wet with water balloons, letting them have fun in the sun," said Amanda Thompson of New London, who staffed Water Wars with four other people. "It's been pretty busy due to the nice weather."

The Daily Globe Chair Auction raised $2,990 Saturday for the local branch of the Red Cross, with the Globe kicking in additional money to raise the total to $4,000.

"I've been here for most (Regattas)," said Neil Roberts of Worthington, who intended to purchase a pork chop on a stick Saturday. "I think (the festival) has grown a lot."

Brian and Michelle Ling of Bigelow turned out to listen to the tunes of the Unvarnished Music Festival, which was extremely well-attended Saturday and even on chilly, overcast Friday.

"We looked at the lake, we looked at the sailboards, and we listened to the lady sing," Brian said. "I like the sand pile. Kids have really made use of that. That was a good idea."

Michelle said she appreciated all the visiting she could do at the festival, and all the people she met.

"You get about thirty feet, and then you talk to somebody, and then you get another thirty feet, and you talk to somebody," said Brian, grinning.