WORTHINGTON — It’s back!
The Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, like so many other events scheduled between March 2020 into early 2021, didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many health-related restrictions now lifted — and the calendar on the cusp of the summer season — it seems like there’s no better time for a bigger Regatta than ever.
This year’s event — the 21st annual — will take place June 11-13 on Worthington’s Sailboard Beach. Assuming the weather’s cooperative, it’s hard not to imagine a Worthington celebration like few others.
“The board and I are extremely thrilled that this is going to happen this year,” Regatta board chairman Josh Miller said. “Even a few months ago, we had a lot of reservations about if it would be possible this year yet and, if we could, what type of COVID measures would have to be in place.”
While there was no Regatta in 2020, Miller said there was plenty going on with the festival behind the scenes.
“Even though this community celebration didn’t happen last year, we still had our meetings for the most part on Zoom, and we wanted to make sure we would be ready,” he said. “Unfortunately, that just wasn’t possible. This year will be extra special and we know it will be a great time for family and friends to reconnect again, especially since COVID.”
One of many noteworthy components of this year’s Regatta is that all the bands secured for the 2020 festival will take part in this year’s event. Headliner Casey Donahew will take the Sailboard Beach stage at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 11; other performers include Ben Johnson (7 p.m. Friday), Up South (4 p.m. Saturday), Bootleg (7 p.m. Saturday) and Sweet Siren (9 p.m. Saturday).
“The board’s music committee chair, Barry Roberts, did a great job staying in communication with all of our bands,” Miller credited. “We had contracts in place, and money had been sent. We were all a little nervous about how this could end. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work, we have been able to keep the bands and move them to this year. I wish it was as easy as it sounds.”
Each year, Miller and the Regatta board members try to incorporate something new into the three-day festival. This time around is no different.
“This has become a big community festival that offers something for everyone,” Miller explained. “We have a lot in store for this year’s event, and a few new things are happening over the weekend.
“We will have axe throwing this year,” he continued. “There will be four lanes, and the company is Woody’s Axe Throwing. We are really excited about this, and it should be a nicely added piece to draw people in and create some extra fun over the weekend. This will be available Friday evening and pretty much all day Saturday.”
As has become customary over the years, the “Kids Zone” will be part of the Regatta and be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Kids Zone is coordinated and hosted by Client Community Services Inc. Additionally, the Artmobile will be parked nearby and offer children’s and family activities.
Also on the Regatta schedule this year is a church service set to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday.
“We are excited by the church service; it’s open to the public and we hope everyone comes out to support it,” Miller said. “A few churches have come together and will have their service at Sailboard Beach.
“Thank you to Pastor Wesley Kouba for wanting to take this on during his first term of being on the board. “We thought, ‘We have this great space with it (stage) still available to be used.’ I hope we have a great turnout, and after people can get some lunch from a few of the food vendors that stick around.”
While there will not be a chair auction as in past years — it’s hoped that it will return to the festival in 2022 — there will still be a raffle that will benefit the Regatta.
“The board every year puts on a fundraiser, and we are fortunate to work with some great businesses in our community to make a great raffle year after year,” Miller stated. “We have several items on the raffle, and we will do the drawing for that at 6 p.m. on Saturday.”
As is the case with every Regatta, windsurfing will take place on Lake Okabena throughout the festival. And, of course, there will be plenty of tasty food alternatives for attendees to consume. Miller said food vendors may be set up a little differently to provide some extra space for seating.
Sponsors for this year’s Regatta include Marthaler Worthington, Sanford Worthington, JBS, United Prairie Bank and the Worthington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. For MIller, even though he’s now served as board president for several years, being part of coordinating the annual event remains a fulfilling experience.
“I still continue to learn each year and it gives me great appreciation for any community event that is put on,” Miller said.
“We are looking for board members for next year, so please feel free to reach out to me, a board member or the Chamber if you have any interest,” he added. “I am thankful for the great community support, whether it be by volunteering time on the board to make this event run smoothly or by financially supporting the Regatta. We all know it takes money and volunteers to make these events work, so thank you!”