Star-spangled holiday

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Recently I’ve occasionally heard the sound of fireworks off in the distance — a sure sign the Fourth of July — Independence Day — is upon us.

The annual fireworks display over Lake Okabena is the most vivid of my childhood memories of July 4. No matter what we did earlier in the day, my family always ended the holiday sitting on the lakeshore, watching the “rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,” come to life over the local body of water. DotMom, always eager to expand our vocabulary, challenged us to come up with a different adjective for each brilliant display. But soon the descriptive words gave way to silence as we were enraptured 

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by the lights and colors in the sky.

While we now live just a hop, skip and a jump from the lake, our tradition is to head down to the home of a friend who lives along Sailboard Beach and has a view less impeded by trees. The photos posted here were taken there

 last year, showing the people lined up in anticipation of the dusk display and the ensuing light show.

But before the fireworks, the Fourth is the perfect time to fire up the grill, so I’m keeping my promise from a few weeks back to share our favorite turkey burger recipe. Hubby Bryan and I like things spicy,  but if your tastebuds aren’t as attuned to heat, use less chipotle in the meat mixture.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers

1½ pounds ground turkey breast

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¾ cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 or 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (from a can), stems and seeds removed, finely chopped

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

 

In a bowl, mix all ingredients lightly, just until everything is incorporated. Divide mixture into four equally-sized balls; form into patties. Sprinkle patties with salt and pepper.

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Place patties on grill and cook until seared on both sides and meat is cooked through,

Serve on whole wheat buns with sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and lettuce. (We often mix some of the adobo sauce into the mayo extra heat.)

 

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Waves & wind, sun and fun

Hubby Bryan and I just got home after a Jeep ride around Lake Okabena. Well, we couldn’t go all the way around the lake tonight, because part of the road is blocked off in preparation for the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival, which gets under way tomorrow and continues through the weekend.

Sailboard Beach (which, for those who once lived in Worthington but no longer do, is the area around where the power plant once stood) already looks festive, with the stage and beer tent already in place and food vendors already arriving.

This is the 18th year for the festival, and I can say I was there for the very first one. In fact, I was the reporter on duty for the Daily Globe the year that visionaries Bill Keitel and Jeff Hegwer realized that Lake Okabena could possibly become a mecca for windsurfers with its windy conditions and low profile and threw together a small festival. That year, I both photographed and wrote about the event and met some wonderful people who make the journey to Worthington to test the windsurfing waters.

Over the years, the Regatta has grown and evolved into a unique and very special event. It has served as the venue for several National Windsurfing Championships. I was involved with it for a number of years, helping with various aspects and organizing coverage for the newspaper, and I’ve made some wonderful friends in the process. Now I just sit back and enjoy it and am always glad to reconnect with the people I have met at past events.

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The photo featured here is from the 2016 Regatta. Taken at dusk, it’s not the most colorful view of the festival, but I was struck by the sense of community as boats and people lined up along the shoreline to enjoy the evening’s musical offerings and be part of the event.

 

If you are in the vicinity of Worthington this weekend, I suggest you come down to Sailboard Beach and check out the sights, sounds, food and other offerings to be found there. (Yes, it’s going to be hot, but having volunteered for the event when the temp was barely in the 50s, I can tell you the heat is definitely preferable!)