NEW ULM - New ideas paid off Friday as Bavarian Blast got underway at the Brown County Fairgrounds.
National television show star Mollie Busta and the polka band Squeezebox drew a tent full of polka fans who filled the floor with dancers.
Large electric fans kept the air moving inside the tent.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Dancers hit the floor in the August Schell Tent Friday the Ohio band Squeezebox with Mollie B perform. Bavarian Blast continues at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Brown County Fairgrounds.
"Mollie B draws a huge range of people from all over. At least six busloads of people came here to see her," said Bavarian Blast board member Amy Furth. "It's her first time her and she was wildly popular. We hope to have her back. It's a good thing we put in a bigger dance floor."
Mollie Busta fans included Raymond and Janice Delfs of Rock Rapids, Iowa.
"We knew her when she was really young when she played keyboard. Now she plays just about everything," Janice Delfs said.
"We like old-time music," Ray Delfs added. "We'll do to the ballroom in Wahoo, Neb. and Hill City, S.D. to hear this music. We went to Gibbon Polka Days for decades until it no longer existed."
Furth said the festival board responded to popular demand by adding a number of new wrinkles to the festival including the county fair midway and beer garden at the south end of the fairgrounds.
"We've added new magicians, ventriloquists and brought back other popular acts back like Flemming Fold. The Concordia Language School is in the children's building, will give kids a German name and we'll photograph kids in German costumes," Furth added. "We're going to party all weekend long with new mixed drinks and Happy Hours with two beers for $6 on the midway from 7-8 p.m. Saturday. We've got new food including pizza and hot wings."
Saturday events on the midway include wiener dog racing at 5 p.m., a Sauerkraut eating contest at 6 p.m., and beer barrel racing at 7:30 p.m.
Paloma, a four-piece band from Chicago with native German speakers, will perform at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the August Schell tent.
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.