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20th Regatta ready to roll on Thursday

WORTHINGTON -- After a soaking spring, it's easy to crave the warm temperatures and refreshing breezes of summer. Those conditions would be absolutely perfect to organizers of the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, which is set to kick off T...

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Windsurfers take off at the start of the first race of the 2018 Regatta on Lake Okabena in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - After a soaking spring, it’s easy to crave the warm temperatures and refreshing breezes of summer.

Those conditions would be absolutely perfect to organizers of the Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, which is set to kick off Thursday in Worthington and continue through the weekend.

With the festival celebrating its 20th anniversary, this year’s slate of events is looking to be bigger than ever. Worthington is playing host to the US Windsurfing National Championships for the fourth time, and a music lineup headline by chart-topping country music act Parmalee is poised to bring a large and enthusiastic crowd to Sailboard Beach.

Here’s the question on everyone’s minds, though: Will the weather cooperate?

Given the forecast offered Tuesday by Brad Temeyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D., there’s ample reason for optimism.

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Windsurfing competition begins Thursday on Lake Okabena, with an expected high in the low 80s accompanied by what should be dry conditions. The only potential drawback could be a lack of gusty winds, though there should still be enough for sailing.

“It looks like winds will generally be from the southeast … with really light conditions,” said Temeyer, with speeds forecast between 5 and 10 mph. “That southeast wind will increase, though, and it looks like they could be in the 10 to 15 mph range on Friday and Saturday.”

The Weather Channel’s app was predicting on Tuesday that winds would be in the range of 10 to 20 mph during Friday and Saturday. Windsurfing is scheduled for both of those days, and Sailboard Beach will be filled with its usual array of vendors, children’s activities, music and more.

Temeyer did offer a small amount of caution about Saturday’s weather.

“The little trick on Saturday is that it looks like we have a chance of precipitation, particularly during the afternoon hours,” he said. “There’s a 20 percent chance in the morning and a 30 percent chance in the afternoon. It will be something to certainly keep an eye on.”

High temperatures will be around 80 on Saturday. Sunday, meanwhile, will see cooler temperatures in the 70-degree range; no windsurfing is scheduled for the day.

While ample wind and sun are obviously ideal for the Regatta, it still promises to be a crowded weekend in Worthington no matter what. That’s good news for the local business community, said Tyler Knutson, the co-chair of the Worthington Convention and Visitors Bureau Hotel and Marketing Committee.

Knutson, general manager at Comfort Suites & Event Center in Worthington, noted Tuesday that his hotel was “pretty close” to full, and surmised that others in town were as well.

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“We take care of the folks that are taking care of the entertainment down at the beach,” Knutson said. “There are a few windsurfers … but a lot of it are the people who are folks that used to live in Worthington and come back to partake in the things going on at the Regatta.”

This is the fifth Regatta for the Comfort Suites & Event Center, said Knutson, who estimated he’s about as busy this year as he’s been in others. And, in addition to a big community festival, there’s a wedding this weekend at the facility, too.

“We’ve got a lot going on this weekend,” he said.

There’s a lot going, indeed, at the festival, and more was added earlier this week.

The Sioux Falls, S.D. TV station KSFY will be at the Regatta on Friday, as evening anchor Vanessa Gomez and meteorologist Sam Gabrielli will host 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts live from Sailboard Beach.

Another late addition is a Saturday morning fusion class with Tina Nickel that will take place from 8 to 8:45 a.m. on Sailboard Beach. The class is being presented by the Worthington Area YMCA, and is free and open to anyone of any age. Participants should bring their own mat.

Here’s the rest of the schedule for the festival:

Wednesday, June 5 Windsurfing registration

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Thursday, June 6 9 a.m. Skippers’ meeting; racing to follow throughout day

Friday, June 7 9 a.m. Skippers’ meeting; racing to follow throughout day

11 a.m. Food vendors open

4 p.m. Beer tent open

4 p.m. Media tent open

5:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony, National Anthem and Flag Raising

6 p.m. County Line Drive

8:30 p.m. Good for Gary

Saturday, June 8 9 a.m. Skippers’ meeting; racing to follow throughout day

9 a.m. Regatta Bike Ride, Centennial Park

9 a.m. . Media tent open

10 a.m. Ride the Hog for Stroke Prevention, begin at Sanford Clinic

11 a.m. Children’s activities

11 a.m. . Artmobile

11 a.m. Food vendors open

2 p.m. Beer tent open

4 p.m. Mojo Monks

6 p.m. Chair Auction

7 p.m. Capital Sons

9 p.m. Parmalee

 

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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