Bavarian Blast off to big start

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
The dance floor under the Schells Tent was filled up quick Friday afternoon. The crowds dance to the music of the Concord Singers, Alpensterne and Squeezebox with Mollie B. See more photos on page 8A, and on The Journal’s CU site, cu.nujournal.com

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The dance floor under the Schells Tent was filled up quick Friday afternoon. The crowds dance to the music of the Concord Singers, Alpensterne and Squeezebox with Mollie B. See more photos on page 8A, and on The Journal’s CU site, cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — The third weekend in July has arrived and that means the Bavarian Blast is here.

The festival ground behind the New Ulm Civic Center is packed with folks celebrating their German Heritage. This is the 12th year since Bavarian Blast took over for the long-running Heritagefest. After only the first day the 2017 Blast is already breaking records.

“The Thursday crowd was wonderful,” Bavarian Blast board member Dodie Wendinger said. She said this year’s Pre-Blast concert had the best ever turnout for a Thursday night. Over 900 pre-sale tickets were sold with another 100 sold the night for a crowd of over 1,000.

Crowds are typically smaller on the first two days of the festival but the last two years early attendance has risen. No official count was prepared for Friday, but the numbers are expected to be higher than average

“I know its been a good day,” Wendinger said gesturing to the Schell’s Tent. “We have a full tent in the middle of the afternoon.”

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
You don’t have to be German to enjoy the Narren. Gemee Sofien is originally from Russia but she is more than happy to celebrate Bavarian Blast.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt You don’t have to be German to enjoy the Narren. Gemee Sofien is originally from Russia but she is more than happy to celebrate Bavarian Blast.

The Friday afternoon crowd were treated to performances from the Concord Singers, Alpensterne and Squeezebox with Mollie B. Later in the evening the Fabulous Armadillos return to play the final Friday show.

The kids events began earlier than anticipated. An inflatable bounce house and slide were sent up across from the Schells Tent around 3:30 p.m.

Originally the bounce house and slide were schedule for Saturday and Sunday, but an enough children came early on Friday that the board decided to bring the inflatables out early. Saturday, the inflatables will be joined by a balloon artist and a Blue Bunny Ice Cream vendor.

The last few years the kids events were held indoors but this year the events are outside and fortunately, the weather was perfect.

Temperatures for Thursday and Friday were in the low 70s with a slight breeze. Forecasts for Saturday predict temperatures in the low 90s but the board members feel the higher temperatures will improve beer sales.

Wendinger is confident the crowds would return for Saturday. The festival grounds will host several popular Bavarian Blast activities Saturday, including the wiener dog race, barrel racing (guiding beer kegs through a labyrinthian course), a sauerkraut eating contest, and the stein holding contest (holding a stein of beer at arm’s length for as long as one can). All of the Friday night bands will be returning Saturday in addition to Austrian Express.

Festivities start early on Sunday with a breakfast served by The Farm City Hub Club starting at 9 a.m.

Visitor’s will have the choice of either scrambled eggs with sausage for $5 or a pastry for $3. The breakfast was added to the other new activity, a nondenominational polka service. This will be the first polka church service held at the fest grounds. It starts at 10 a.m. with Mollie B leading the congregation in song.

The annual parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. It starts at the Washington Learning Center, cutting through the fairgrounds to State St. It follows State St. until 6th N., cutting across to Jefferson St. and heading back to the starting point.

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