Narren celebrate 30 years of making smiles

Narren celebrate with kids at library

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Children celebrate with story time with the Narren who celebrated turning 30 at the New Ulm Public Library Saturday.

NEW ULM — The Narren of New Ulm celebrated their 30th birthday in a most appropriate way Saturday, a story-time party with children.

Dozens of people participated in story time with the Narren at the New Ulm Public Library. The Narren made crafts, read stories and danced with youth with their hand-carved, wooden masks off most of the time, to avoid frightening the youngsters.

A celebration with kids is most appropriate, since the Narren have been delighting children at events and parades for the past 30 years.

Each Narren character has a name and its own story. Check the Narren’s website to read the extended version.

The Narren said what they enjoy most is providing and supporting entertainment at festivals and events along with promoting the City of New Ulm and its German culture.

“What a wonderful mission in life, making people,” laugh,” said one satisfied Narren viewer.

The Narren seed was planted in 1988 due to a chance encounter with a Narren group from Germany that appeared at New Ulm’s 1988 Heritagefest.

Two masks were purchased from the German group and the Narren of New Ulm make their first appearance at the 1989 Heritagefest.

Members now design the costumes to complement the masks and the character represented. Most of the masks are carved by master wood carvers from Germany and the United States. Others are made by hobby carvers with great skills.

Talk to the Narren about what they do and they’ll tell you they enjoy taking part in events with children, walking parades, mingling with and greeting people, making them laugh, the camaraderie they get doing things with each other, eating brats and kraut and sweeping away winter at Bockfest in New Ulm each year.

The organization holds monthly meetings presided over by elected officers who are also part of an advisory board. Membership is open to people at least 18 years old. Persons under 18 can join but with limitations set in club guidelines.

Club-owned masks and costumes are available for new members to use initially. Privately-owned masks are available at owners’ discretion.

Often described as “the relatives everyone has but nobody wants to claim,” the Narren schedule includes German Park summer concerts, Bavarian Blast this week, Watermelon Days in Sanborn, the St. Paul Oktoberfest Sept. 14; St. James Multicultural Fiesta Sept. 14; the Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest Sept. 21; the Sleepy Eye Buttered Corn Days Parade Aug. 17 and other events.

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For more information, visit the Narren on Facebook or visit https://wwwnarrenofnewulm/com/

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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