NEW ULM - Bavarain Blast weekend continued with another day of polka music, competitive events, and honoring tradition.
For the second day in a row the weather remained cooler than typical for July. Clouds loomed overhead for most of the day, but the Fest Grounds remained rain free all day.
The mild weather (Saturday's high was 79) was greatly appreciated by both spectators and performers. Musician Michael Fortunato commented that the breeze was life saver for those playing on stage.
Korynn Fischer and Kris Schneeberg, both of New Ulm, teamed up to win the Bavarian Blast Barrel Rolling contest Saturday afternoon.
Mike McGinley (right), of Lakeville, took first place and Joe Macko (left), of North East Minneapolis, took second in the Sauerkraut Eating Contest Saturday at Bavarian Blast in New Ulm.
Joel Wendler of New Ulm smiled after winning the inaugural Stein Holding Contest Saturday night, holding his full stein outstretched for six minutes, 29 seconds.
With the mild summer weather the crowds were not afraid to come together during the major events of the day. Bavarain Blast Boardmember Dodie Wendinger commented that the morning 5K/10K was well attended with 75 people in the run.
After starting the morning with a traditional 5k/10k race, the afternoon went to the dogs. The second annual wiener dog race was held on the fest ground. This year first place went to Katy Eelma's dachshund Otis.
Michael Gerdes from Jordan, Minnesota returned to this year to defend his title in the Barrel Race Tournament. Gerdes and his friends have been attending Bavarain Blast for the last seven years and his team was favored to win the Barrel Tournament, but they were eliminated early in the competition.
First place went to the Wild Card team consisting of New Ulm locals Kris Schneeberg and Korynn Fischer. Schneeberg and Korynn were placed together as partners minutes before the competition. In his victory speech Schneeberg called it "fate."
The biggest event of the evening was the First Annual Stein Holding Contest. A total of 24 contest competed to see who could hold full beer stein. Contestants needed to keep their arms outstretched parallel to the floor without spilling their full one-liter glass beer steins. After six minutes and twenty-nine seconds Joel Wendler was declared the winner, with Mike Guggisberg taking second.
The Board members are still counting total numbers, but this year the festival has seen an overall uptake in attendance from last year.
Bavarian Blast continues today with the annual parade starting at 12:30 p.m. It will wend its way through the festgrounds before heading south on State Street to 6th North Street. It will head up Sixth North to Jefferson Street, then head back to the festgrounds.
Another big event Sunday will be the "New Ulm Sings" competition. The winner of the competition will represent New Ulm in the "Minnesota Sings" competition, on Sept. 28.
Sunday's musical entertainment will continue at the Schell's Tent and the KNUJ Polka tent, with the grand finale, featuring Alex Meixner, Alpensterne and Spitze, starting at 7 p.m.
See page 8A for a complete entertainment and events schedule.