HermannFest lights up the sky

Four generations of Berndts attend bust unveiling

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
The skies over the Hermann Monument exploded with fireworks Saturday evening during Hermann Fest in New Ulm. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello The skies over the Hermann Monument exploded with fireworks Saturday evening during Hermann Fest in New Ulm. For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com

NEW ULM — HermannFest returned this year as a celebration not only of Hermann the Cheruscan, whose monument overlooks New Ulm and the Minnesota River Valley, but the man who designed and built the 102-foot tall monument.

No fewer than four generations of Berndts attended an unveiling of the Julius Berndt bust at Hermann Heights Park Saturday afternoon. Descendants included Ruthie Stoll of New Ulm. The work of art was sculpted by Jason Jaspersen of New Ulm.

“This gives us the opportunity for serving credit to those who made the sculpture come to be. (The late) Ruth Berndt’s bequest funded the sculpture,” said New Ulm historian Denis Warta. “Raised by her grandparents in New Ulm, Ruth won many campaign medals as a nurse in World War II, serving in the Philippines, New Guinea and Japan. She later worked as a charge nurse at New Ulm hospitals. This bust was her idea. Thank you Ruth Berndt.”

Wendy Enter of New Ulm, who appeared at the event as Thusnelda, a Germanic noblewoman and the wife of Arminius (Hermann the German), was a friend of Ruth Berndt, who died in 2005.

“She’d be very honored by this,” Enter said of the unveiling of the Julius Berndt bust.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Four generations of descendants of Julius Berndt attended the unveiling of his bust at Hermann Heights Park Saturday afternoon. The group includes Ruthie Stoll of New Ulm, standing just to the right of the Berndt bust. See more photos on page 8A.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Four generations of descendants of Julius Berndt attended the unveiling of his bust at Hermann Heights Park Saturday afternoon. The group includes Ruthie Stoll of New Ulm, standing just to the right of the Berndt bust. See more photos on page 8A.

The plaque on Julius Berndt’s bust noted him as an architect, designer and builder. He was considered one of the most interesting characters in New Ulm, often keeping himself busy pertaining to the public welfare, never thinking of himself.

He was further described as always happy and contented, doing things with his hands and mind that pleased him and his lifework. Berndt came to New Ulm in 1857 and drew the plans for the old Turner Hall.

HermannFest honors Hermann, who rid Germania of Roman forces in 9 AD. The battle turned out to be a world-changing event. Had Hermann not been victorious, we would not be speaking German or English. It would be a romanced version like French, Spanish and Italian, Warta has said.

Polka music included The Wendinger Band, The Johnny Helget Band and The Concord Singers at Hermann Heights Saturday.

Shortly after 6 p.m., Thunder in the Valley, featuring patriotic music by the New Ulm Municipal Band, cannon fire from the New Ulm Battery and a number of other battery units, offset the music with ground-shaking blasts, fire and smoke.

As the sun sank into the western horizon, Time Machine performed on stage in Harman Park.

A spectacular fireworks show then lit up the sky over the Hermann Monument.

Saturday morning, the Drew’s Crew 5k Run/Walk to benefit Drew Aufderheide, drew several hundred people to Harman Park. A live auction followed early in the afternoon. (See related story).

fbusch@nujournal.com

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