Sunday event celebrates Goosetown history

The statue of Gertie the Goose in Riverside Park is a symbol for the Goosetown neighborhood in New Ulm. Goosetown residents are celebrating “Gemütlichkeit in Goosetown on Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

NEW ULM — ‘Gemütlichkeit in Goosetown’ is just right around the corner, taking place on Sunday and celebrating one of New Ulm’s most unique neighborhoods. The organizers of the ‘Gemütlichkeit’ report about what makes Goosetown so special to them.

Dr. Ann C. Vogel remembers her childhood in Goosetown: “It was kind of like Huckleberry Finn, because you could be a young girl or a young boy and just explore the area without too much supervision. And there is a lot of imaginative and folklore stories that are rooted there.”

Ron Bolduan remembers the childhood days he spent in Goosestown in the 50s very fondly, too.

“I lived on Minnesota Street and would go down there to play. Bad part about it was that you might lose your baseball in the river, but I just thought it was a really cool neighborhood.”

Vogel explains Goosetown’s history and how the neighborhood got its characteristic name.

“The community started around the 1870s. The city was founded in 1854, the conflict between Native Americans and Settlers occurred in 1862. Shortly after that many laborers came there, settled along the river and started working for the nearby grain mills. The workers had large gardens with mainly geese in them and they used them for feather beds and the fat of the geese for soap. Geese were just very utilitarian animals to have.”

The origin of the Gemütlichkeit lies for Ron Bolduan in another New Ulm festival.

“There was an event called ‘Riverblast,’ but there was no family entertainment. It eventually lost its momentum and so a small group of us decided there should be a family friendly event to replace it. So when we got together, Doc Ann came up with the ‘Gemütlichkeit’, which pretty much summed up what we were looking for.”

Vogel adds that “‘Gemütlichkeit’ is when people get together in a relaxed atmosphere with either old or new friends and family and have a good time.”

When asked what they were most excited to see at Gemütlichkeit, Tony Miller, another organizer, mentioned performer Richard Schwartz, who is a native Goosetowner.

“I think it is great that he is coming down from Michigan to perform for us. And his mother still lives here, so hopefully he can combine his performance with a family visit.”

Bolduan looks forward to showing people another side of their heritage. “I am the curator and the creator of the Learning Center down there and a lot of people helped me acquire my displays, like the New Ulm Sports Fishermen. And the displays are 98% hands-on, which is great for the kids.”

Vogel adds that “there will be food and music and many opportunities for photos, to experience things and to explore all the rich heritage we got around the Minnesota River Valley.”

‘Gemütlichkeit in Goosetown’ is organized by Tony Miller, Brenda Longworth, Ron Bolduan and Ann C. Vogel, and will take place at Riverside Park in New Ulm from 12 to 4 p.m.

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