Rain hardly matters at Oktoberfest

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt For the second weekend in a row a large crowded attended the downtown Oktoberfest celebration. The crowds came out in full force in the morning and many remained through the rain showers that fell in the afternoon.

NEW ULM — Rain was not enough to dampen German spirits. New Ulm’s Oktoberfest continued Saturday despite the rain.

The morning events went off without a hitch and it appeared as if the storm might wait until after the celebration, but unfortunately the rain started to fall shortly after noon.

This was the first rain to fall on a New Ulm Oktoberfest celebration in several years. None of the New Ulm Chamber staff could remember a rain event, but Jenny Eckstein said it snowed in 2000.

“It was just flakes, nothing heavy,” she said. Although she did remember a heavy snowfall in the late ’90s that caused some concern. Regardless, New Ulm has gone 17 years without inclement weather during Oktoberfest, but the rain had little effect on turnout.

The downtown celebration on Center Street began promptly at 10:30 a.m. after the Oktoberfest Promenade Parade. The crowds were strong most of the day. The Chamber had visitors come from as far away as Alaska.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The Wendinger Band were the opening band for the Center Street Oktoberfest celebration. The festival was visited by guests young and old and from as far away as Kentucky and Alaska.

The rain did disperse the crowd for while, but many simple waited out the storm in one the bars on Minnesota Street.

At Schell’s Brewery over 1,300 people had entered the main gates by 11:30 a.m. Most of the crowd remained even after the rain started to fall. Most gathered under the big tent or under one of many smaller umbrella. Some visitors even got Schell’s brand rain ponchos.

Libby and Noah Dominik from Savage, Minnesota road out the drizzle under picnic table umbrella with Chuck and Susan Blomberg from Grand Falls. The two couples were staying in Flandrau State Park and had prepared camp in rainy weather.

“It is a four year tradition to come here,” Libby said. A little rain was not going to stop them. The Dominiks and Blombergs planned to hike back to Flandrau using the trail connecting the park to Schell’s.

Under the big tent Peter and Sophie Snell celebrated the sixth anniversary of their first date. In 2011, Peter had invited Sophie to the Schell’s Oktoberfest celebration as a first date.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The Narren walk the Oktoberfest Promenade parade route down Minnesota Street hand in hand with local kids.

Sophie said she was really excited on that first date since her family did have German roots. Ever since then, the couple has tried to return to Schell’s Oktoberfest celebration every year. They were unable to attend last year because they had just closed on a new house, but they made sure to have plenty of Schell’s Beer on hand. This year they were joined by friends and family wearing “Snells at Schell’s” t-shirts.

At 5 p.m. the crowd at Schell’s migrated over to the Best Western Plus for the evening entertainment. Outside the Blue Ringers and Whiskey Stones performed. Inside the Concord Singers, The Riverbend Dutchmen, Wendinger Band and Sandra Less entertained the crowds.

Even as the Oktoberfest festivities wind down for the year there are plenty of themed events and activities continuing Sunday. The Schell’s Brewery will once again open up for regular tours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Morgan Creek Vineyards will host a Sunday Brunch from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Leland Johnson, 14 months, of St. Paul was a hit at the Schell’s Brewery with his lederhosen. His mother, Megan Johnson, promised to buy him a new set as he grows up. Leland’s favorite part of Oktoberfest was playing with the leaves.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Accordion player Eric Heukeshoven is joined by Matt and Shawna Gruber in a rendition of “You are my Sunshine.” The trio was unsuccessful in coaxing out the sun, but they had fun trying.


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