NEW ULM - A number of new bands and a higher, more navigable Minnesota River will be part of 2014 Riverblast, a free cultural event this weekend at Riverside Park.
"People should like the new entertainment we've lined up," said New Ulm musician and Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River Executive Director Scott Sparlin.
Bands include The Arcades, a seven-piece Twin Cities roots rock 'n' roll band that will play '50s and '60s tunes by Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.
On stage from 8:30 p.m. Friday to 12:30 a.m. Saturday, they've performed at a number of large venues including the Minnesota Street Rod Association's "Back to the Fifties" weekend at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and at Minnesota casinos.
Riverblast kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with local classic rockers Cold Blooded Whiskey on stage until 8 p.m. They are followed by Mankato's The Barefoot Winos until closing time.
On Saturday, New Ulm's bluegrass band, Dick Kimmel and Company, will perform from noon to 3 p.m., followed by Schell's Hobo Band from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Jumbo Ya Ya with zydeco, cajun, blues and "swamp" rock from 5 to 8 p.m.
If you go:
What: 2014 Riverblast free cultural festival with music, food, camping, locally-grown produce, canoe obstacle course, horse-drawn trolley rides, watershed information in Minnesota River History Center
When: 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 29; 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 30
Where: Riverside Park, Center and Front streets, New Ulm
Sparlin said the rest of RIverblast will be much as it was except that with higher river levels this year, he expects more interest and better boating for a canoe obstacle course on Saturday. Participants are invited to sign up Saturday. Prizes will be awarded.
"Other than that, if it ain't broke, you don't fix it," Sparlin said. "It should be nice weather for camping and canoeing. The higher river water should be good for free rides in the 28-foot canoe owned by the Mankato Paddling & Outings Club. The boat ramp and dock should be usable."
Camping sites in the park are $25 each for one camping unit and one support vehicle. Dogs must be leashed. No dogs, glass containers or coolers are allowed at the fest site, which is the tennis courts at Riverside Park.
Saturday afternoon events include horse-drawn trolley rides in Front Street, free face painting, sales of locally-grown produce and more from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. or until sold out.
The New Ulm Area Sport Fishermen are raffling off an Alumacraft MV1648 NCS boat with 25 horsepower Evinrude motor, trailer, fish finder and two life jackets plus cash prizes. Drawings begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the fest site.
Sparlin said volunteer help is needed to tend bar and sell tickets from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, visit www.riverblast.net
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com).