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Event Center celebrating one-year anniversary

WORTHINGTON — It has been one year since the opening of the Worthington Event Center.

To commemorate the anniversary, Director of Sales and Events Manager Jackie Tentinger has scheduled a weekend full of events, including a country music concert and a kids carnival.

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“Me — as a manager and being a part of it, even seeing it when it was brick and mortar and what it is today and the potential of what it’s going to be — I’m just very proud of it and want to share that,” Tentinger said. “Also, I’m proud of the community and how they’ve supported us. I’m proud of all the letters and emails and just the compliments; I know that this is a part of the community.

“Everybody has a stake in it,” Tentinger added. “It can only be good for Worthington and the surrounding area, and I want to thank everybody for giving us the opportunity to prove them right.”

The Event Center will host Jake McVey, a country music artist, on Friday.

“His management company had reached out to me,” Tentinger said. “I looked into him and asked a few people in Worthington that would know. I’ve heard his music, and he’s decent. It’s just something fun and low-key.”

The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8. Kayla Daniels will open for McVey.

“I knew I wanted some sort of entertainment, but I wanted to keep it low-key,” Tentinger said. “People have seen the fancy events, the sit-down banquets. I’ve hired Kayla before — she’s really great.”

And while country will be the theme of the night, Tentinger said Daniels will likely mix it up.

“Country is the largest genre in music,” Tentinger said. “With Kayla Daniels, she’s a crowd pleaser. She can do anything — one minute she’ll be singing Lady Gaga, the next Lady Antebellum. I think it will be a good show.”

Brats, hamburgers, coleslaw and baked beans will be served as a picnic buffet. Tickets are available by calling the Comfort Suites at 295-9185; they will also be available at the door.

The following afternoon — May 10 — the Event Center will be hosting a kids carnival.

“I was thinking, I wanted the weekend to be something for the adults as well as for the kids,” Tentinger said. “Kids are hopefully going to be a part of this Event Center growing up, from things like this to hopefully when they get married someday or their graduation. Since I have a 7-year-old, I thought, ‘What would I want to do on that day?”’

The Minnesota Zoo will be bringing a variety of animals. There will be inflatables, giveaways, body art, craft stations, games and many other activities.

“Different people in the community have been very gracious as far as wanting to help with a booth and a lot of them came up with their own,” Tentinger said. “Everything is free. Everyone will walk away with more than they had when they walked in. I know Mother’s Day is Sunday, but it will be something fun for families to do.”

The carnival is from 1 to 4 p.m. inside the Event Center.

“It’s showing our versatility from going from a country concert to the next day having a kids carnival,” Tentinger said.

The Event Center was built as part of the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in the city in 2008. It opened with a grand opening gala on May 18, 2013. Since then, a multitude of events have been hosted at the facility.

“Basically, coming into this, it exceeded my expectations. It’s surprised me and it justified building it,” Tentinger said.

“Just the demand alone is crazy. I can just see it growing. More people are learning about it and hearing about it and its reaching a little bit further. Everyday I get several inquiries, if not bookings. I’m hoping the community has seen how positive it is.”

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.