Oktoberfest begins again

NEW ULM – If you haven’t already met George Wendt, aka Norm of “Cheers,” and his brother Paul, they’ll be at the Downtown Oktoberfest when it starts Saturday, then at Schell’s Brewery and the Best Western Plus.

Wendt was busy signing his book “Drinking with George: A Barstool Professional’s Guide to Beer” Friday night as the Concord Singers led the start of the second weekend of Oktoberfest Friday night at the Best Western Plus.

A 1975 alumnus of The Second City, Wendt appeared as Norm Peterson in all 275 episodes of Cheers, earning six Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

After Cheers, Wendt starred in the brief “The George Wendt Show,” that featured him as a garage mechanic with a radio show, based on the National Public Radio show “Car Talk.”

Paul Wendt, who lives in Chicago, was talking to Oktoberfest-goers at the Best Western Plus Friday night. Wendt said he got to know stand-up comic Kevin Farley in Los Angeles. Kevin Farley is the younger brother of the late actor Chris Farley and older brother of actor John P. Farley.

In 2013, Kevin Farley directed and co-starred in “Paranormal Movie,” a spook film of Paranormal Activity. In 2015, he appeared in a documentary “I Am Chris Farley,” with his brother John, plus former SNL actors Adam Sandler and Dan Aykroyd, documenting the life of Chris Farley.

Paul Wendt said “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” a song written by American folk rock singer Jim Croce, released in 1973, describes Chicago neighborhoods a few miles from where he lives. The song about a South Chicago bar fight, was Croce’s last number-one single before he died on Sept. 20, 1973.

“It would be a good song to sing at a piano bar,” Wendt said.

Oktoberfest continues with the Wendinger Band on the Center Street stage at 11 a.m. Saturday. Switch Road Band plays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Best Western ballroom bands are the Concord Singers 3 to 4 p.m., Kris & the River Dutchmen 4 to 6 p.m., the Leon Olson Band 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and the Bockfest Boys 10:30 p.m. to midnight.

At Schell’s Brewery, the gates open at 10:30 a.m. Schell’s Hobo Band plays at 11:02 a.m. and Alpenstern performs at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.newulm.com.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com