Popcorn wagon open for the season

Keith Richter (left) and Yvonne Weber (right) man the Popcorn Wagon.

NEW ULM — The Brown County Historical Society Popcorn Wagon opened Saturday for the first time this year.

It was parked on the Broadway side of the BCHS museum. Keith Richter and Yvonne Weber sold Popcorn, 1919 root beer, pop and water to support the BCHS.

“All of the money goes to the museum to support the mission of programs for all ages and exhibits.” Weber said

Patrick Woratschka was the wagon’s mascot. He waved at passing cars in a popcorn costume to bring in customers.

“It’s delicious.” Woratschka said when asked his favorite part of the wagon. “You know, the people are good and the popcorn is the best.”

Patrick Woratschka waves at passing cars in his popcorn costume.

The wagon was built in 1914 by C Cretors company in Chicago, Illinois and sold at $1,200 each. This price is $36,403 dollars today when adjusted for inflation.

It was bought by Meyers Jorgenson in 1914 and owned by him until 1926. From the 1940 to 1970 it was owned by Ben Bauermeister. From the ’70s through the ’90s it was owned by Diann Warta, then Sylvia Hopkins after 1973. The BCHS then bought it in 2002 and has run it ever since.

The wagon’s red color is refurbished to match the original. It is the same cart as the white one that sat on the corner of Center St. from the ’40s to the ’80s

This item is unique to the museum as the only item in their collection actively used. All other pieces are not meant to be operated, only observed and learned.

A notable part of the wagon’s charm is people being able to eat from the same cart as when they were children. “We try to keep the prices reasonable.” Weber said. “Since it has been here for so long it is close to a lot of peoples hearts. People will bring their grandchildren and tell stories about when they were kids with their grandparents. It is a heartfelt thing with childhood memories.”

The wagon will be operating at 12 North Broadway near the vintage gas pumps on 10 dates throughout the summer and fall.

The second date is Thursday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the opening of BCHS’s exhibit “Gut Heil! New Ulm as a Turner Town”. There will also be a noon presentation by historian Dan Hoisington. The third date is Saturday, June 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Autofest and Quiltistry.


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