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Willkommen zu Worthington: Crailsheim guests arrive for 75th anniversary celebration

75th Anniversary book, lapel pin unveiled during visit by Crailsheim band, city residents.

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The cover of the Worthington-Crailsheim 75th anniversary book shows the River Jagst with downtown Crailsheim buildings. The photo was taken by Julie Buntjer during the 70th anniversary celebration in Crailsheim in 2017.
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WORTHINGTON — More than 70 individuals from Worthington’s sister city, Crailsheim, Germany, arrived in two separate groups Tuesday to spend the next week here in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the sister city partnership.

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The group includes 45 members of the Crailsheim Stadtkapelle band, who will perform during intermission of tonight’s 7 p.m. band concert in Chautauqua Park. The band will also take the stage at 2 p.m. Saturday during the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, and perform at 1 p.m. Sunday at Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium.

“Everybody but the mayor will be hosted by local families,” said Jason Johnson, president of Worthington-Crailsheim International. “It’s always hard for people to open up their homes — especially in the times that we’ve been in — but it will be a wonderful experience for the host families.”

Planning for the 75th anniversary celebration began last fall, shared Johnson, noting that the committee wanted to produce a special book to commemorate the anniversary and recognize all of the individuals who have taken part in the student exchange program between the two cities.

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One of the pages in the book features members of the Burgerwache band performing during the 70th anniversary celebration of the Worthington-Crailsheim partnership.

The result is a 132-page, coffee-table style book packed with historical accounts and photographs of the partnership’s beginnings, the story on the World Brotherhood Award, photographs from the 70th anniversary celebration in Crailsheim in 2017, and responses from nearly every individual selected for the exchange program between 1956 and 2020.

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“(The book) was created with the idea that this event was going to take place and we wanted to celebrate 75 years of the exchange and friendship,” Johnson said. “Some great stories came about and it was great to hear what all of the past exchange students are doing.”

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Copies of the book "Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership" are available for purchase at the Nobles County Historical Society in downtown Worthington.

The Globe was tasked with digging through its archives for stories and photographs, and connected with nearly all past exchange students seeking current photographs, biographical information and a request that they share some of their fondest memories of their exchange year.

“The response was overwhelming, for sure,” Johnson said of the exchange student submissions, most of which include recent photographs. “We really need to thank (Julie Buntjer) and Roberta (Fultz) and The Globe for doing most of the work.”

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A majority of the individuals who took part in the international student exchange between Worthington and Crailsheim shared their thoughts on the program, and where they are now, for the 75th anniversary book. Among them is Gene Janssen, one of Worthington's first exchange students to Crailsheim.

The committee ordered 500 copies of the book, which are available for purchase at the Nobles County Historical Society in downtown Worthington. Glimpses of the book will be shared online for members only at www.dglobe.com/crailsheim75 .

Commemorative pin created

In addition to the special edition book, The Globe produced a commemorative pin to mark the 150th anniversary of the city of Worthington and the 75th anniversary of its partnership with Crailsheim.

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Originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe

“The idea for the pins came from John Nordell. John collects lapel pins, and he wanted to have one that celebrated both Worthington’s 150th anniversary, and 75 years of the sister-city partnership with Crailsheim,” shared Fultz, the Globe’s Advertising Manager. “I thought it was a great idea! We’ve got a lot to celebrate this year, and a lot of city festivals and events coming up. What a great opportunity to get everyone involved.”

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Pins commemorating Worthington's 150th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of the Worthington-Crailsheim Partnership were created by The Globe. They will be available for purchase at The Globe's tent during the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival Friday and Saturday.
Roberta Fultz / The Globe

The Globe’s graphics manager, Jessica Pass, designed the pin, which features the Worthington and Crailsheim bridge beam sculpture. There were 500 pins ordered, and by the time they arrived, more than half had already been pre-sold.

“Five area hospitality businesses volunteered to join in the celebration — Forbidden Barrel Brewing, the Worthington Area YMCA, Hickory Lodge Bar & Grill, Lupita's Mexican Restaurant, and the Worthington VFW are all offering discounts and unique offers to people who wear the pin on festival days for the rest of the year,” shared Fultz. “We'll continue to promote their deals and those festival days in The Globe, so keep an eye out!

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“We truly couldn’t do this alone,” she added. “With Forward Worthington’s assistance, we were able to promote the lapel pin project across the entire state.”

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Originally published July 25th, 1947, in the The Worthington Daily Globe

Five other businesses also sponsored the project — Mike Woll Investment Office, Benson Funeral Home, Worthington Monument, Southwest Hearing Technologies and First State Bank Southwest.

“I’ve certainly never made a lapel pin before, but it’s been a lot of fun,” Fultz said. “I’m putting it on my baseball cap for the Regatta. I’m glad we get to make something unique and memorable for our community!”

Hosting friends

With the planning for this year’s 75th anniversary celebration beginning last fall, Johnson said the committee searched for tour options that would be of interest to the German guests, yet also offer plenty of time to relax and make new friends or reconnect with old friends.

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Editorial originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe

On their itinerary while they are visiting, the Crailsheim group will tour the Round Lake Winery and have a wine tasting and meal there. They will also tour the Historic Dayton House and the Nobles County Historical Society. A visit to Forbidden Barrel Brewery is also planned. The remainder of the time is free to shop, attend Worthington’s Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival and spend time with their host families and friends.

“We’re very excited to have everybody come and just reconnect with people that they haven’t seen for a few years or several years in some cases,” Johnson said. “To celebrate 75 years of this program, even the German consulate is coming for the event.”

The German consulate will be on hand for tonight’s band concert and program at Chautauqua Park. The event begins at 7 p.m.

“Thank you to everybody who’s given — whether it be through their time or donations — to make this program thrive for 75 years,” Johnson said. “It’s the oldest sister city relationship in the country, and it’s something we, as Worthington, are proud of.”

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Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership
Members Only
Copies of the book "Worthington & Crailsheim: 75 Years of Partnership" are available for purchase at the Nobles County Historical Society in downtown Worthington.
75th Anniversary book, lapel pin unveiled during visit by Crailsheim band, city residents.
Members Only
Originally published July 25th, 1947, in the The Worthington Daily Globe
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Originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe
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Chad's year in Crailsheim had a family connection
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Staci remembers crossing the Berlin Wall into East Germany
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Astrid became an Opera singer after her year in Worthington
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Dieter's love of exploring wildlife only grew in Worthington
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The sousaphone Günter received from Worthington is one of the reasons he plays in the Crailsheim City Band today
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Host families:
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Janssen's year in Crailsheim changed his life
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Crailsheim gave Eva a lot - but her favorite thing is curiosity!
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Editorial originally published April 29, 1958, in The Worthington Daily Globe

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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