NEW ULM The Bavarian Blast is supposedly one of the reasons why New Ulm can be called the most German city in America.
So after every contest has been covered and tons of pictures have been taken, it seems appropriate to hear what a real Bavarian thinks about New Ulm's heritage fest. Because I have been living in Gnzburg, Bavaria, for all my life, I'd consider myself the right person to judge. And I fully approve of the "Bavarianness."
It starts with the atmosphere. As soon as you pass the "Welcome to Bavarian Blast" sign, you're right in the middle of the event and you feel welcome. You meet people you know, talk for hours, make new friends. Everyone seems to be having a good time. You see people dancing to the music.
Hans Joohs exchangee Elena Kretschmer, center, shares a local brew with Martin Przybylski and Adam Prymak, two fellows from Poland who were selling German jerseys at Bavarian Blast.
All that just feels like home to me. I've been to hundreds of those festivals small ones, big ones, including the Oktoberfest in Munich and as far as the atmosphere is concerned, the Bavarian Blast is just as Bavarian as such a festival could be.
Then there's the food. I wouldn't necessarily call fried onion rings or cheeseburgers a typical Bavarian specialty, but there are food stands that are not as authentic at the actual Bavarian festivals as well. Sptzle or spaetzel as you call it schnitzel, brats and sauerkraut are definitely the right thing to sell. In Germany you would also find little finger-shaped potato dumplings called Schupfnudeln, roasted pork leg with potato or bread dumplings and red cabbage. You might find a few more candy booths in Bavaria.
I guess I do not have to mention drinks. Of course, it's the beer people buy. Schell's offers a great variety of beer, and it's a local brewery as well, because that's how it works in Bavaria, too. If we have our annual "Volksfest" in my hometown, it's the local brewery that provides the beer. Otherwise, it would not be authentic. The only difference is that our beer is served in big steins that hold a liter, so about a quarter gallon of beer. Bavarian Blast in New Ulm can't keep up with the real Bavarian festivals. And the alcohol content of the beer is different as well, but that's another point.
Last but not least: The music. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised of how authentic some of the bands were. The one that got to me the most, was "Spitze" from California. They played so many songs that would actually be played in a German beer tent. The Concord Singers did a great job as well, and all the other bands, too, of course. Speaking of the beer tent we would probably have a plain white one in Germany but that depends on where you go.
Not to mention the German apparel that you can buy at the festival. I mean, how much more authentic can it possibly be, if you have two traditional booths owned by two Germans? Andy Schwarzkopf, one of the booth owners, even comes from a city close to my hometown. How small can the world possibly be? I traveled all the way from Germany to America, to New Ulm, just to meet a person that could be my neighbor. Amazing. Adam and Martin, the two guys selling German jerseys, are not quite as authentic because they're from Poland but they fit right in.
So summing up the Bavarian Blast, I did really have a blast. Add a few merry-go- rounds and a Ferris wheel, raffle ticket booths and it's perfect. I, the true Bavarian, fully approve of it. Keep up the great work, New Ulm!