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Regatta believe: Food one of many enticements as festival opens

Navy veteran Heath Kruse raises the American flag as part of the opening ceremonies Friday night along Sailboard Beach.1 / 3
Julie Patchouli and Bruce Hecksel perform on the main stage Friday night at the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival. This is the duo's second visit to the festivities.2 / 3
A large crowd gathered for food and fresh air along Sailboard Beach Friday night.3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- The sun was shining and a light breeze blew early Friday afternoon as food stands began to churn out delicious smells and the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival got under way.

Stacy Kremer of Worthington and her soon-to-be fourth-grade daughter were sampling some food Friday afternoon while viewing the decorated Adirondack chairs for the traditional charity auction.

"My favorite thing is the food," said Kremer, who -- somewhat ironically -- is a fitness instructor.

Proceeds from this year's chair auction will benefit Relay for Life of Nobles County. Daily Globe employee Denise Erwin is a chair-painting veteran.

"I have painted 12 chairs for the chair auction since 2003, the first year we had nationals," she said.

Erwin's chair this year has a nautical theme.

"It is getting harder and harder to come up with new themes for the chairs," she admitted.

Meanwhile, amidst the hustle and bustle of the food stands, rising Worthington High School juniors and twin sisters Zory and Zalea Hamblin were serving up ample portions of "down-home" nourishment at their food stand, Z and Z's Barbecue Ribs.

All will be peachy keen -- unless you ask for their secret family dry rub recipe.

"I can't tell you that or I'd have to put you in the lake," joked a family member who wished to remain unnamed.

Their cooking process begins early in the morning. The dry rub is applied to the meat and then let to sit for a while. Eventually, the succulent final product is cooked.

"What we like most is getting comments on the ribs," Zory Hamblin said.

While the weather was picture-perfect on Friday afternoon, the forecast for today remains unsettled but does include ample wind.

"Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches," said former Regatta committee member Joni Harms, adding that she hoped the weather would cooperate on Saturday. "One year, I had to hide in the utility building with 11 other people due to a tornado warning."

Whatever the weather, varied food offerings, music, art, and -- of course -- windsurfing, will be the main events in Worthington today and Sunday.

"We specialize in ribs, and our family has been doing this for 10 years -- mostly in Worthington -- two or three times a year, " said Zalea Hamblin.

The stand is run by the two peas in a pod and their family members. They promise customers amazing comfort food, from pulled pork and baked beans to rum cake and pecan bars for those with a sweet tooth.