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Music, memories, and more from the Heritage Center's grand opening gala

The Roaring 20s-themed evening kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated home of the Nobles County Historical Society.

Nobles County Historical Society President Art Frame cuts the ribbon during the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center in the Historical Armory building, 225 Ninth St, in downtown Worthington. Joining in the event are Forward Worthington Ambassadors Holly Sieve and Marv Spomer, NCHS board member Jay Milbrandt, Frame, Mike Johnson and Ambassador Kristine Correll.
Nobles County Historical Society President Art Frame cuts the ribbon during the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center in the Historical Armory building, 225 Ninth St, in downtown Worthington. Joining in the event are Forward Worthington Ambassadors Holly Sieve and Marv Spomer, NCHS board member Jay Milbrandt, Frame, Mike Johnson and Ambassador Kristine Correll.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — After a week of festivities, the new Nobles County Heritage Center opened its doors on Saturday during a gala event. The evening was filled with music, food, and more than a touch of the roaring 20s flair, to celebrate the renovated building’s 100-year anniversary.

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The free event kicked off with a ribbon cutting for the Heritage Center — formerly known as the Armory — and many thanks to the Historical Society board members in the crowd who helped to make the night possible.

“We’re so excited to finally open this building to you,” said board member Jay Milbrandt. “…we’ve been waiting for this moment, this week, to finally open the doors and let people in.”

Mike Woll was the emcee for the gala and ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center Saturday evening in Worthington.
Mike Woll was the emcee for the gala and ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center Saturday evening in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

The Heritage Center’s transformation has been a long time in the making, stemming from what Milbrandt described as a want for a place where “people would come together and heritage was preserved and kept.” Now that construction work is mostly completed, the “real work” begins of capturing the memories, artifacts and stories of Nobles County.

The evening included drinks and hor d’oeuvres, a photo booth, and silent auction, with items ranging from a 1901 gold Liberty Head coin to a guided kayak trip along the Des Moines River.

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The 34th Infantry Division "Red Bull" Band provides music for the  gala after the ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center in the renovated historic Armory building Saturday night in Worthington.
The 34th Infantry Division "Red Bull" Band provides music for the gala after the ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the Nobles County Heritage Center in the renovated historic Armory building Saturday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Also featured were musical performances by the Minnesota National Guard “Red Bull” band Boots N Brass. The 10-person brass band played an assortment of songs, from “America the Beautiful” to more contemporary classics like Dr. Dre’s “No Diggity.”

Boots N Brass later ceded the floor to Night Coffee, a jazz and swing group, as patrons of the gala — many of whom were dressed in sequins, fringes and fedoras befitting the roaring 20s theme of the evening — wandered the floor and took in the displays on the main floor.

“We’re thrilled to finally be able to show this building off,” said Beth Rickers, executive director of the Nobles County Historical Society. “We’ve had such an amazing response all week to our grand opening events. It’s been absolutely phenomenal.”

While the gala served as the final event in a week-long series of opening festivities, Rickers said there are still finishing touches to be done. The Historical Society continues to have a matching donation program in place, including the opportunity to buy a key for $200, which will go toward funding for exhibits, renovations and more.

The keys will be engraved with a name of your choosing, and be hung as part of a permanent display at the Heritage Center. Engraving will be done by Johnson Jewelry, and the leather straps for the keys come from Worthington’s Buffalo Billfold.

“It’s a nice opportunity for people to make a donation at a lower level,” Rickers said. “We have some large donors that we so appreciate, but we want the community to also feel like they have a stake in this.”

Donations are currently being matched by Greg and Cindy DeGroot through the Worthington Regional Healthcare Foundation Legacy partners program. Those looking to donate can send a check, made out to WRHCF, to NCHS, P.O. 614, Worthington, 56187 or call (507) 295-5397 for more information.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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