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Beach Bash is back

WORTHINGTON -- Community members staying home for the Independence Day weekend will find plenty to do in Worthington. Radio Works will be hosting its Beach Bash for the second year in a row Sunday at Centennial Park. Radio Works General Manager C...

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WORTHINGTON -- Community members staying home for the Independence Day weekend will find plenty to do in Worthington.

Radio Works will be hosting its Beach Bash for the second year in a row Sunday at Centennial Park. Radio Works General Manager Chad Cummings said that it all started with a phone call from a country music performer.

“A friend of mine, Chris Hawkey, got a hold of me and said, ‘I have an open date and I’m going to be coming through the area on July 3. Is there anywhere I can play?’ I sat back and thought about whether or not we could make this into something,” Cummings said.

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Cummings discussed his thoughts with others at Radio Works and determined a way to make a Hawkey concert happen.

“Chris is great with the public and I thought, ‘We can make this really fun,’” he said.

With high hopes for a community event, Cummings thought that the largest park in the city, Centennial Park, would be the best place to have it. Once he got permission from the city of Worthington to host Beach Bash there, he lined up sound and stage equipment and found some local businesses to help with fundraising.

The decision to have the first-ever Beach Bash at Centennial Park turned out to be a good one, as the number of attendees greatly exceeded Radio Works’ expectations.

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“We had hoped for 500 people, and 2,000 showed up last year,” Cummings said.  

The event kicks off with the fourth annual YMCA Color Dash in the parking lot of the former outdoor swimming pool. Packet pickup begins at 11 a.m., and the dash will start at 1 p.m.

“This is an event that is for all ages and all capabilities,” said Worthington YMCA Executive Director Andy Johnson. “It is an activity where people can come out and have fun and get exercise at the same time.”

The untimed, 5k walk/run will include five stations where participants will be ‘splashed’ with a safe, non-toxic, colored powder. The starting location is new this year, and with that comes a new route.

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“The event will start at the intersection of Liberty Drive and West Lake Avenue and we will be heading out toward the college,” said Johnson. “After going through the college campus, we’ll make our way on the bike path, and that will take us all the way through Centennial back to our original location.”

Participants can register at the event; those who pre-register online at www.cd5k.com will get a discounted fee.

“The Color Dash organization is committed to community support,” Johnson said. “Registration has been slow this year, but they feel very strongly that they want to come to Worthington and make it a positive experience for all the people who have already signed up.”

In addition to the enjoyment of the dash itself, participants can also be satisfied knowing that their money is staying in the community. Proceeds from the event will support YMCA youth programming and mentoring.

“It’s an opportunity to get together, have a good time and support a cause,” Johnson said. “Color Dash gives 50 percent of the proceeds back to the community that they are in. There aren’t a lot of fun events out there that do that.

“With all the other events going on, this will be just another opportunity for people to celebrate the long weekend and also Independence Day.”

Another fun attraction alongside the Color Dash will be giant water slides on Liberty Drive. They will be open at noon for anyone to use at and be available throughout the afternoon. Also beginning at noon is a sand volleyball tournament in the park.

There will be activities offered for kids starting at 3 p.m.. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be available for purchase at 4 p.m., and the beer garden will open at that time as well. Those aren’t the only options, however.

“The sodas and sweet treats are handled by the Beach Nook,” Cummings said. It will be open in the afternoon and selling its usual beverages, ice cream and other snacks.

Though the event is free, all money raised through sales and donations will support the Lake Okabena Improvement Association.

“The city council had mentioned that one of the big things they want to focus on is Lake Okabena,” said Cummings. “We talked to the Lake Okabena Improvement Association and they thought the event was a great idea.

“The only thing that we charge money for is food and the beer gardens,” he continued. “This is a fundraiser, so the only thing we ask is that people don’t bring outside food, and we won’t allow any motorized vehicles in the park.”

Radio Works raised money for a fireworks display last year and still gave $6,000 to the lake. However, Cummings said it’s going to be different this year.

“This year we aren’t going to do fireworks on the third. We didn’t want to take in dollars for fireworks this year. We want it to go to the Lake Okabena Improvement Association,” he said.

As for the musical events, the first group on the stage will be Mitch Gordon & the Unleaded Band at 5:30 p.m. Chris Hawkey will perform next at 7:30 p.m.

“We want to do this for the right reasons, for the community, and make this a fun event,” said Cummings. “There’s a double-edged benefit for the community because we are giving money to the Lake Okabena Improvement Association and opening up the biggest park in the city.

“Come out with the entire family and be ready to have a great time.”

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