NEW ULM - Bavarian Blast festivities begin Thursday evening at the Brown County Fairgrounds.
Thursday's pre-fest event features the Johnny Cash tribute band "Church of Cash" from 6 p.m to 9 p.m., followed by the Minneapolis-based country band "Chris Brooks & the Silver City Boys" from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Blast events, which start at 11 a.m. Friday, will follow the compact design introduced last year to create a more festive environment. The change followed a low turnout in 2011 and resulted in a higher turnout in 2012.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
The main tent and stage are set up at the Brown County Fairgrounds in preparation for Bavarian Blast. The festival starts Friday and continues through Sunday.
Three entertainment tents are planned for Friday through Sunday. The August Schell Tent will feature more modern music, the KNUJ Radio Polka Hall will feature traditional polka music, and the Kinderfest tent will provide activities for children.
Popular bands returning this year will include Squeezebox with Mollie B, Paloma, Copper Box and the crowd-pleasing Alex Meixner Band. On Sunday evening, Alpensterne, Meixner and the Concord Singers will perform a special Grand Finale.
A full listing of Bavarian Blast bands and schedules is available at www.bavarianblast.com
A few silly and fun events will also be held in the midway area at Bavarian Blast on Saturday - Weiner Dog Races at 2 p.m., a Sauerkraut Eating Contest at 4 p.m. and a Barrel Racing competition, which involves rolling a beer barrel with sticks on each end in a race format, at 6 p.m.
The Kissner Promotions Craft Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday in the New Ulm Civic Center at the fairgrounds.
The parade will be held on Sunday from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Camping is available at the fairgrounds. The rate is $30 for camping and $50 for a site with access to electric and other camper hook-up services.
Festival hours are 6 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and closing time is 1 a.m. on Sunday. The festival concludes on Sunday with hours from 11 a.m to 8 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for the special Thursday event, $9 per person on Friday and Saturday and $5 per person on Sunday, with children 12 and under getting in free. A special weekend pass can be purchased for $15.
SunFest 5k Run-Walk on Saturday
New Ulm Area Catholic Schools has organized its own "SunFest 5k Run-Walk" around the Bavarian Blast for 8 a.m. on Saturday. A free Kids Fun Run event will start at 9 a.m. The run-walk and kids run will start at 715 N. Washington St. in Washington Park and follow a looping path back around to the park. Runners will each receive a bib and a timing chip to track their progress. Medals will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place runners for each age group. More information on SunFest is available at www.naucs.com or at 507-233-0751. Participants can register at sunfest5k.zapevent.com. The walk-run costs $30 to register and same-day registration begins at 6:45 a.m.