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Oktoberfest visitors come from near and far

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Buffalo Alice delivers a blend of classic rock and country music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in three-part harmony at the Best Western Plus Outdoor Tent Friday.

NEW ULM — Visitors from across Minnesota and as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area gathered at the Best Western Plus indoor ballroom as the 38th Annual Oktoberfest began Friday.

With The Concord Singers on stage, a number of children and adults gave and received high fives and danced with The Narren around tables full of festival goers.

Those making merry included Gaylord native Sandy Weldon of Mountain View, Ca. She met family and friends to hear German music and enjoyed German and American food.

“I grew up in Gaylord. I’m back here for the third time this year. This trip includes my 55th High School Class Reunion and reuniting with my son and his family from Chandler, Arizona.”

Weldon worked as a bookkeeper and did accounting and tax work in California for several decades.

Friends that met her at Oktoberfest included Kim Haverkamp of Detroit Lakes, Kim Burke of Walker and Paula Gutheridge of Cass Lake.

“I just love German food and music and being part of my heritage. I’m 100% German,” Haverkamp said. “I love the Wendinger Band. I saw them at the Brown County Fair here this summer.

“Everyone is happy, just full of life. It’s one big party. I like that,” Burke said.

“It’s camaraderie and friends. It’s a new experience,” Gutheridge said.

Craig and Vonnie Sharpe of Shoreview were Oktoberfest newcomers.

“A friend recommended it,” said Vonnie. “We toured New Ulm Friday. I like quilting and shopping.”

“She’s Czech, but came here to enjoy it with me,” said Craig Sharpe. “I lived in New Ulm during grade school.”

While The Concord Singers and The Narren led the merriment in the Best Western Plus indoor ballroom, the classic rock and country band Buffalo Alice performed the greatest hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in three-part harmony in the big tent.

Schell’s Hobo Band followed The Concord Singers indoors at the Best Western Plus. The Blue Ringers followed Buffalo Alice in the outdoor tent. Music continues Saturday at the Best Western Plus.

Saturday Oktoberfest events begin at 8:30 a.m. with the Hermann Tot Trot at 8:30 a.m at the New Ulm Park & Recreation Field House. At 9 a.m., a 5k road race starts up Center, south on Summit Avenue to Flandrau State Park, up a steep climb to Indian Point, Indian Point Drive and on to the Hermann Monument.

The German-American Day Parade begins in Schonlau Park at 11 a.m. The parade route continues south to Center Street. Live music on Center Street features the Bockfest Boys from 11a.m. to 1:30 p.m, followed by Rock of Ages from 2 to 5 p.m. The eight-member band features old-school hits from the Beatles, Stones, Stray Cats, David Bowie and more.

Other events on Center Street Saturday include games, horse-drawn trolley rides, a stein-holding contest and more. German and American food, local beer and wine and more will be available.

Stomp New Ulm, the annual grape stomp at Morgan Creek Vineyards, features a day of music, food, drink and laughter. Stomps are scheduled for 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Teams of three to five stompers per vat will compete for a free case of wine. Each member of the team winning the best concept and costume design win a bottle of seasonal desert wine.

From noon to 3 p.m., Morgan Creek entertainment includes Bavarian guest musicians Oachkazlschwoarf, the Minnesota Traditional Morris Dancers from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the Satori Violet Belly Dancers of Mankato and The Narren. Music continues from 3 to 5 p.m. Wine and beer tasting plus cheese and a variety of food will be available.

Free bus shuttles will be running continuously from 10 a.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. Stops include downtown, Best Western Plus and Schell’s Brewery. A free shuttle from the Green Mill/Best Western Plus to the grape stomp at Morgan Creek Vineyards will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, visit https://www.newulm.com/visitors-community/things-to-do/festivals/oktoberfest-3/

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

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