Bavarian Blast winds up with a bang

Volunteers make it go

Staff photo by Fritz Busch New Odyssey drummer and comic Gary Todd, who has been in show business since age two, sings and performs on more than 15 musical instruments.

NEW ULM — Chicago-based New Odyssey, a main fixture of the Heritagefest celebrations in New Ulm years ago, concluded Bavarian Blast music Sunday, rocking on with style under a packed Schell’s tent.

Currently on a farewell tour, the three-man band with 30 instruments performed with gusto, running and jumping on stage. They contacted the Bavarian Blast board about playing in New Ulm one last time and their wish was granted.

In the Bavarian Blast office, Bavarian Blast Board Secretary-Treasurer Dodie Wendinger and a group of volunteers were busy counting chips and money as New Odyssey blasted out rock tunes.

“Despite the rain, it was a fabulous year. We had great groups and great crowds,” Wendinger said. “We wanted to add new groups of people and we got them. They came from all over the country and Europe every day.”

Wendinger said she talked to a man who said he followed Neil Diamond on tour and said the tribute band here (Thursday night) was even better than the original. She said a number of people heard the Neil Diamond tribute band earlier in St. Cloud and came to New Ulm to hear them again because they wanted more.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch The Schell’s Hobo Band perform with gusto in the 90-minute Bavarian Blast Parade July 22.

“Alex Meixner, Mollie B. and Squeezebox really got people fired up during the day. Then we had great groups at night too,” Wendinger said. “But everybody was well behaved.”

Wendinger said a good share of the bands that performed at Bavarian Blast will return next year. She said some new bands will be added next year too.

“People come here for the music, not just to drink beer, which is something that can happen at events like this,” Wendinger said. “It was a great, great weekend. It was a great parade with some great bands.”

She lauded the dedicated volunteers that work into the wee hours of the morning that made the festival happen.

“New Ulm has such a great support group of people. Without them, we couldn’t put on something like this,” Wendinger said.

Staff photos by Fritz Busch A baby and a young woman seem to enjoy being part of the Bavarian Blast Parade.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch The State Street Theater Company performs songs from “Mary Poppins” on a trailer at the Bavarian Blast Parade.

The Turner Hall Haunted House appeared in the parade with an unusual twist.