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2016 Daily Globe chair auction raises funds for NCHS

WORTHINGTON -- Take a seat. That's exactly what Daily Globe Publisher Joni Harms, auctioneer Jack Sliver of Prins/Sliver Auction Service and Jerry Fiola, a volunteer with the Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS), were urging audience members t...

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Jack Sliver (center) and Daily Globe publisher Joni Harms (right) conduct the 2016 Daily Globe chair auction. Tim Middagh/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON - Take a seat.

That’s exactly what Daily Globe Publisher Joni Harms, auctioneer Jack Sliver of Prins/Sliver Auction Service and Jerry Fiola, a volunteer with the Nobles County Historical Society (NCHS), were urging audience members to do at the Saturday evening charity auction that was part of the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival.
Eight full-sized Adirondack-style chairs and one “kiddie set,” all of which were creatively painted by local artists, were offered to the highest bidders in an effort to raise funds for an NCHS publishing initiative.

“This looks like a very generous crowd,” flattered Fiola before offering a detailed report of what the auction proceeds would benefit.
Noting that the NCHS was established over 80 years ago to collect, exhibit and preserve the history of Nobles County, Fiola credited the late Ray Crippen - a longtime Worthington newspaperman and area historian - for his decades of work supporting the NCHS.
Shortly before Crippen’s late December death, Fiola and others associated with the NCHS talked with Crippen about his compilation of stories and articles about the railroad and its lasting effect on Nobles County.
“There are fascinating stories in his book,” assured Fiola, “and the historical society has the rights for it.”
For instance, President Theodore Roosevelt once stopped in Worthington, many soldiers en route to World War II passed through the county, numerous local students traveled by train to study at colleges in the Twin Cities, hobos illegally hitched rides on trains and bootleggers used the train to transport their illicit beverages from place to place.
“Our goal is to get Ray’s book about the railroad and the train depot published,” explained Fiola.
With that, Sliver began the auction proceedings, but despite his expertise and exhortations (“Come on, people, this is a fundraiser,” Sliver reminded at one point), bidding appeared to be a little slower and lower than in some past years.
The chair receiving the highest bid ($500) was sponsored by RadioWorks and painted in a patriotic red, white and blue pattern.
Additionally, guest festival performers Kat Perkins and Drake White had autographed the RadioWorks chair, making it a one-of-a-kind find.
The second highest amount ($455) was fetched from what Sliver termed a “4th of July chair,” sponsored by the VFW No. 3958 and painted by Joli Salas, a Worthington Windsurfing Regatta board member.
“You just need patience,” Salas said later about her artistic undertaking. It was the self-taught artist’s fourth charity chair in as many years; last year, she chose the iconic Hamm’s beer bear and logo to bedeck her slatted wooden canvas.
Slightly over $2,500 was ultimately netted for the NCHS at Saturday’s auction, with the additional chairs selling for between $125 and $350 each.
Sue Nau’s contribution, painted for sponsor Java Nau and voted “People’s Choice” by regatta-goers, picked up on a piece of Nobles County history in depicting Olson Campground.
“She always does a really cool job,” complimented Nau’s sister-in-law, Lori Nau, as she pointed out the chair’s unique features: roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on the arm rests, a camper on the seat back and the catchy phrase, “Where friends and marshmallows get toasted at the same time,” on the seat bottom.
Other chairs were sponsored and designed as follows: Marthaler Chevrolet, decorated by Anthony Lumaden and Jasmine Vansavanh in a Silverado theme; Kustom Threadz Embroidery, imaginatively decorated by Vieng Harvey; Lampert’s, decorated by Lisa Severance in a design imitative of rosemaling; Merck, painted by Clint Meyer with a prominent and colorful parrot; Avera Medical Group, painted by Angie Hardekopf with nostalgic scenes of bygone businesses; and Fulda Area Credit Union, kiddie chairs and table painted by Tim Haugen and Madison Lewison.
“Let’s give these buyers and bidders a hand,” suggested Sliver at the auction’s close. “This is all going for a good cause.”
Earlier, Fiola told those assembled that Crippen left more material for books addressing other aspects of Nobles County history that could provide fodder for additional NCHS publishing efforts down the road.
The town’s Chautauqua gatherings of the early 1900s, he indicated, would be one such topic.
Looking out at the festival grounds, peopled with diverse attendees attired for the hot weather in tank tops, sunglasses and shorts, Fiola fittingly observed, “Yesterday’s Chautauqua is today’s Regatta.”

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