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Regatta Chair Auction to raise funds for Amelia Earhart statue

Chairs to be auctioned off at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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A 2022 Regatta chair auction submission.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — After a two-year hiatus, Worthington’s Windsurfing Regatta & Music Festival will once again feature a fundraising chair auction.

Spearheaded by The Globe since the earliest years of the festival, the event will again feature 10 Adirondack-style chairs that have been hand-painted by local artists. This marks the 17th year The Globe has sponsored the fundraiser, with numerous local organizations as the benefactors of the funds raised.

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A 2022 Regatta chair auction submission.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

This year, The Globe selected the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Image Committee to receive the funds. The money raised will support the committee’s plan to install a 500-pound bronze sculpture of Amelia Earhart on Sailboard Beach, along the shores of Lake Okabena. An estimated $44,000 needs to be raised for the purchase of the statue, which features Earhart seated on a park bench, and its installation.

“We are so excited to bring back the chair auction to this year’s Regatta,” said Globe Publisher Joni Harms. “Over the years we’ve worked with charities, organizations and committees to help fund their cause. This year the proceeds will be going towards the Amelia Earhart statue on Sailboard Beach.

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A 2022 Regatta chair auction submission.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“Along with veteran auctioneer Steve Prins, we will welcome one of the youngest, newest auctioneers in our area, Riley Widboom, to help auction the chairs from the Regatta stage,” Harms added. “Together, they will surely entertain and work the crowd for a fun-filled evening.”

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Earhart’s time in WorthingtonAmelia Earhart honed her adventurous spirit in Worthington long before she started setting flight records and broke new ground for women pilots.

Born in Kansas in 1897, Earhart took her first flight in 1920. She became an international sensation for her work in aviation before she was lost at sea in 1937.

Multiple Earhart biographies take note of her time in Worthington, where she first rode in an automobile and learned how to play tennis.

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This is one of 10 Adirondack-style chairs painted by a local artist to be auctioned off Saturday to raise funds for the Amelia Earhart statue.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“There was an exciting motor trip to the Graham Lakes — three cars in a convoy — where the Kansas visitors swam and fished and roasted marshmallows. Amelia’s dress caught fire, and she jumped in the lake,” wrote former Globe editor Ray Crippen in 2009.

It was Crippen who, in a 2010 Globe column, suggested the city of Worthington erect a statue of Earhart in the community, offering the downtown area, Worthington Regional Airport or along Lake Avenue as ideas.

“I never have believed Worthington has made enough of its association with Amelia Earhart,” Crippen wrote.

The Community Image Committee began discussing the possibility in earnest in 2018, according to Zuby Jansen, who co-chairs the committee.

“It’s just a great historical piece to put by our lake,” Jansen said of the sculpture, designed by artist Gary Lee Price. It features Earhart sitting on a park bench and gazing at the sky, with her leather aviator helmet and goggles beside her.

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A 2022 entry in the Regatta Chair Auction.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Earhart, along with her sister, Muriel, and their friends swam and fished in Lake Okabena, and took turns riding a pony named Prince.

Chair auction is at 6 p.m. SaturdayThe 10 locally-painted chairs will be auctioned off Saturday evening, with Prins and Widboom starting the bidding at 6 p.m. on the Regatta festival stage.

Chair sponsors and their artists include: Crafty Corner Quilt and Sewing Shoppe, Bob Henderson and Rod Harvey; Johnson Jewelry, Adry Stafford; CCSI, Lisa Severance; Nau Construction, Sue Nau; Merck, Clint Meyer; Avera Worthington Medical Center, Amanda Von Holdt; The Stag, Nobles County Art Club; Johnson Builders, Eleanor Teerink; The Daily Apple, Alisha Clausen; and the Union for District 518, Worthington High School Art Club.

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Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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