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Riverblast gets underway, celebrates river

Smokehouse closes Saturday

September 1, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Campers rolled into Riverside Park, set up, sat down and enjoyed cold beverages Friday as Riverblast got underway.

Children tried their fishing luck on the river. Some stood on a sandbar that stretched towards the middle of the river from the park boat landing.

The hot, dry summer exposed more of the river bank than has been seen in recent years, possibly since the drought of 1988.

Article Photos

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River Executive Director Scott Sparlin of New Ulm gazes the Minnesota River Friday at Riverblast in Riverside Park.

"The river is low, but there is still seven feet of water in the middle channel," said New Ulm's Scott Sparlin, Executive Director of the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River (CCMR).

Sparlin said preliminary test results by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for low, dissolved oxygen show river improvement efforts by the CCMR and other river advocacy organizations are working.

Sparlin waved at campers in lawn chairs near the river as he rolled by on a golf cart.

"This is as picturesque a place as you can find around here," he added.

Other Riverblast-goers toured the Regional River History & Information Center, aka the old schoolhouse in Riverside Park.

Exhibits included exhibits, photos and detailed information about the River Ranger Program, mussels, clams, turtle shells, skulls of bison, coyotes, foxes, mink, and other mammals, fox, beaver, badger pelts plus wild turkey wings and tail feathers.

Bicycle tours of 20 miles to the Historic Harkin Store and 37 miles to Fort Ridgely State Park begin from the history center at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Music begins at 11 a.m. Saturday and continues until 2 p.m. with the Donnie Klossner One Man Band. Other musicians are The Little Prairie Pickers from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., the Bockfest Boys from 5 to 8 p.m. and Smokehouse from 8:30 p.m. to closing.

Randy Bauer of Bemidji, who plays keyboard, saxophone and accordion for Smokehouse, said his band will perform 70s through 90s country, rock, blues, boogie and swing music.

"People will sing, dance and party with our music," Bauer added.

Based in Blackduck, Mn, the band most often performs in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

For more information, visit

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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